Eliminating fees in the Alameda County juvenile justice system meaningfully reduced financial burdens on families

POLICY BRIEF: Eliminating fees in the Alameda County juvenile justice system meaningfully reduced financial burdens on families

WORKING PAPER: Effect of Juvenile Justice Fee Repeal on Financial Sanctions Borne by Families 

PRESS RELEASE: Alameda County Reduced Significant Financial Burdens on Families by Eliminating Fees in Juvenile Probation

In 2016, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors permanently repealed fees charged to youth in the county’s juvenile justice system. Unlike other types of monetary sanctions, like fines and restitution, fees are not intended to punish defendants or repair survivors. Instead, fees are imposed to recoup administrative costs. Increasingly, advocates are highlighting the harm that monetary sanctions can inflict on justice-involved youth and their families, and are calling for fees to be repealed. This study examines whether removing these fees has an appreciable effect on families’ overall financial burden by applying a rigorous causal-inference approach to data on 2,401 youth placed on probation before and after the fee repeal.



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