California Ends Practice of Billing Parents for Kids in Detention

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Marshall Project – By Eli Hager

Gov. Jerry Brown of California signed into law on Wednesday a sweeping package of criminal justice reform bills including a ban on the practice of billing parents for their children’s incarceration, which had been prevalent statewide for decades and was the subject of a Marshall Project investigation earlier this year.

The new law — introduced by two Democratic state senators from the Los Angeles area, Holly Mitchell and Ricardo Lara, and approved by the legislature on Sept. 6 — prohibits counties from assessing a range of fees against parents with children in the juvenile justice system, including those for probation supervision, electronic monitoring, drug testing, and the services of a public defender. Most significantly, it ends the nightly bills that mothers and fathers had long been made to pay for their children’s time in detention.

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