In 2009, the Probation Department stopped pursuing and requesting court orders to collect juvenile detention fees from parents or guardians for the incarceration of their children. However, outstanding fees still remain on pre-2009 fees. As a result, today the Board of Supervisors approved a motion, authored by Supervisor Hilda L. Solis and co-authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn, to report back on the possibility of discontinuing collection or acceptance of payments before 2009.
“Collecting fees for our youth in juvenile detention undermines youth rehabilitation and public safety,” said Supervisor Solis. “It also unnecessarily increases the financial insecurity of vulnerable families. Our justice system needs to take a hard look at its current practices and enhance its efforts to help families and community through rehabilitation. I am confident we will find a way forward that best suits our families and youth in detention while setting up future generations for success rather than incarceration.”
Supervisor Hahn added, “We decided a long time ago that juvenile detention fees were unjust. They did little to keep kids from reoffending and they only added strain to already struggling families. There is no good reason to burden families with debts they have been unable to pay for nearly a decade. This is the right thing to do, and it is long-overdue.”
Today’s motion directs the Probation Department, County Counsel, and the Chief Executive Office to provide a feasibility study and report back in 90 days on the legal authorities and administrative or fiscal issues surrounding the discontinuation of pre-2009 juvenile detention fees. It also asks for a proposed plan to discontinue the collected of the fees. Additionally, Supervisor Solis’ motion asks for a report back in 180 days of all fees charged for supervision or services by the Probation Department of youth or adults.
Although nearly $89 million in pre-2009 juvenile detention debts are still outstanding in L.A. County, only approximately $120,000, or less than one percent, is collected annually.
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