Adolescent Health Working Group has signed on with over 110 nonprofit organizations to call for a moratorium on juvenile fees and fines during the COVID-19 crisis. These fines disproportionately impact low-income communities and communities of color.
Juvenile fees and fines can quickly add up to thousands of dollars. Leaders of state and local governments are rushing to ensure people stay housed and financially stable during the COVID-19 crisis. Yet other bodies of state and local governments are aggressively pursuing collection against families (including garnishing wages, levying bank accounts, placing liens on property, and intercepting tax refunds). This is simply counterproductive.
We call on state and local officials to reduce harm to youth and families by suspending the assessment and collection of all juvenile system fees and fines for at least the duration of this public health and economic crisis, including the following general policy recommendations and specific action steps for decision-makers.
The document includes general policy recommendations and specific action steps for the following decision-makers:
- State Legislatures
- County and Local Governments
- Juvenile Probation Departments and Other State and Local Agencies
- Juvenile Courts
- Juvenile Public Defenders
- District Attorneys
- Law Enforcement