High Pain, No Gain: How Juvenile Administrative Fees Harm Low-Income Families in Alameda County, California

26 Pages Posted: 29 Feb 2016 Last revised: 19 Jan 2017

Alexander Kaplan

University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, Students

Ahmed Lavalais

University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, Students

Tim Kline

University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, Students

Jenna Le

University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, Students

Rachel Draznin-Nagy

University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, Students

Ingrid Rodriguez

University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, Students

Jenny van der Heyde

University of California, Berkeley, The Richard & Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy, Students

Stephanie Campos-Bui

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law

Jeffrey Selbin

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law

Date Written: March 26, 2016

Abstract

National attention is focused on racial and economic discrimination in the criminal justice system. Racially disproportionate interaction with the system leaves people of color with significantly more court-related debt. While criminal court debt has been described and condemned in the adult system, this issue has received virtually no attention in the juvenile system, where fees undermine rehabilitative goals.

This report presents research findings about the practice of assessing and collecting fees on families with youth in the juvenile system in Alameda County, California. The County charges these fees to thousands of families who are already struggling to maintain economic and social stability, and the financial burden appears to fall most heavily on families of color. Although the fees are supposed to help the county recoup expenses, its own data suggest that the County barely recovers the most direct costs of collection.

The report calls for an immediate moratorium and repeal on the assessment and collection of these regressive and racially discriminatory fees (NB: On March 29, 2019, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors imposed a fees moratorium and asked the relevant county departments to prepare for a full repeal by June 28, 2016).

Keywords: juvenile justice, juvenile delinquency, juvenile fees, juvenile fines, court debt, offender funded justice, legal financial obligations, regressive tax, youth justice, restitution

Suggested Citation

Kaplan, Alexander and Lavalais, Ahmed and Kline, Tim and Le, Jenna and Draznin-Nagy , Rachel and Rodriguez, Ingrid and van der Heyde, Jenny and Campos-Bui, Stephanie and Selbin, Jeffrey, High Pain, No Gain: How Juvenile Administrative Fees Harm Low-Income Families in Alameda County, California (March 26, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2738710 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2738710

Alexander Kaplan

University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, Students ( email )

Berkeley, CA
United States

Ahmed Lavalais

University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, Students ( email )

Berkeley, CA
United States

Tim Kline

University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, Students ( email )

Berkeley, CA
United States

Jenna Le

University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, Students ( email )

Berkeley, CA
United States

Rachel Draznin-Nagy

University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, Students ( email )

Berkeley, CA
United States

Ingrid Rodriguez

University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, Students ( email )

Berkeley, CA
United States

Jenny Van der Heyde

University of California, Berkeley, The Richard & Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy, Students ( email )

Berkeley, CA
United States

Stephanie Campos-Bui

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law ( email )

215 Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

Jeffrey Selbin (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law ( email )

215 Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

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