ATLANTA – Deep Center and the Berkeley Law Policy Advocacy Clinic will host The High Cost of Fines and Fees in the Juvenile Justice System, an overview of the state of fines and fees for young people in Georgia. Across the country, youth and their families face monetary burdens for youth involvement in the justice system. Too often, an inability to pay pushes a young person deeper into the system and exacerbates the family’s economic distress.
In this workshop, participants will hear about efforts across the country to create debt-free juvenile courtrooms, solutions that have worked and progress made in Georgia, and action steps on what we still have to do.
The event will be held virtually on March 8 at 6 p.m. and will feature defenders from Louisiana, the first Southern state to scrap youth fees and fines. The event is free, but registration is required.
“We want our village to better understand the impact of fines and fees on youth and their families within the Georgia juvenile justice system and how it can be so different from county to county,” Coco Grandpa, director of public policy and communications at the Deep Center, said in a press release. “Places like Chatham County, Dekalb County and neighboring counties in Louisiana and Texas have shown that it is possible to do things differently. We should, at every turn, encourage decision-makers within our juvenile justice system to adopt these policies and practices. »
Court debt that affects young people has become a priority for reform across the country as local jurisdictions and state governments realize that assessments and collections can be taxed inconsistently, fiscally inefficient and a means of exacerbating the poverty of indigent families – and having a particularly disproportionate impact on families of color.
“Through my work with the Debt Free Justice Campaign – a national campaign to end fees and fines for young people – I have seen firsthand the momentum that states create to end debt for young people. youth in the prison system,” Maiya Zwerling, a clinician lecturer at the Berkeley Law Policy Advocacy Clinic, said. “Fourteen states and six localities have taken action, thanks in part to strong bipartisan support.”
According to Rachel Wallace, who is also a clinical instructor at the Policy Advocacy Clinic, “It has been exciting to see success in all parts of the country, including the South, and we expect many more states to take action. in 2022”.
The High Cost of Fines and Fees in the Juvenile Justice System event is free, but registration is required.