LOS ANGELES — Counties’ overly stringent and varied GPS tracking policies are cycling California juvenile offenders back behind bars for minor infractions, according to a new report.
Electronic Monitoring of Youth in the California Juvenile Justice System – View full report here.
By Andrew Cohen
A unique collaboration between education advocates at Berkeley Law and local public defenders is providing hope—and stability—for vulnerable youth. Lawyers and students at the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC), working in its Education Advocacy Clinic and Youth Defender Clinic, are making a meaningful impact at the intersection of education and juvenile justice.
Kids and their families are drowning in debt.
When kids in California enter the juvenile justice system, their families can end up owing thousands of dollars for court and detention fees, even if they have no ability to pay. While several counties stopped collecting the fees in the past year, a state senate committee is convening next week to consider whether or not all expenses imposed on juveniles and their guardians should be cut statewide.
Animated by stories such as Cuevas’s, juvenile defenders at the East Bay Community Law Center in Berkeley teamed up with students at the University of California at Berkeley School of Law to begin gathering county-level data to determine whether the payment requirement, so long ignored, was cost-effective.
In Alameda County, California, which includes Oakland, for instance, the board of supervisors recently unanimously voted to put a moratorium on all fees for probation and incarceration of juvenile offenders. Previously, juveniles were charged “$25.29 for each night in Juvenile Hall, $15.00 per day for electronic ankle monitoring, $90 a month for probation supervision, a $250 probation investigation fee, and a $300 public defender fee,” according to the East Bay Community Law Center.
The East Bay Community Law Center partnered with the law school at UC Berkeley to further investigate the fees. After filing multiple Freedom of Information Act Requests, Weisburd and her team learned how much money was being charged, and how much was actually being collected from young people and their families.
After Dequan was charged with battery at age 13, he and his mother were unable to pay $200 in court and public defender fees, which extended his probation by more than a year.
Thousands of low-income Alameda County families will no longer pay juvenile probation and public defender fees. On July 12, 2016 the Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to end the assessment and collection on all fees charged to parents and guardians with children in the juvenile justice system. The repeal, which is the first of its kind in the state, ends all fee assessment and collection, offering immediate relief to more than 2,900 families with outstanding debt and shielding thousands of families who pass through Alameda’s juvenile courts every year from future financial hardship.
Thousands of low-income Alameda County families will no longer have to pay juvenile probation and public defender fees. On March 29, 2016 the Alameda County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to impose an immediate moratorium on all fees charged to parents and guardians with children in the juvenile justice system.