LOS ANGELES, CA – In 2009, the Probation Department stopped pursuing juvenile detention fees from parents or guardians for the incarceration of their children, but outstanding debts still remained on pre-2009 fees. Today, the Board of Supervisors approved a motion, authored by Supervisor Hilda L. Solis and co-authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn, to eliminate continued collection or acceptance of payment on these pre-2009 fees.
“Collecting fees for juvenile detention undermines youth rehabilitation and public safety,” said Supervisor Solis. “It also unnecessarily increases the financial insecurity of vulnerable families. As part of a larger, transformative reexamination of how we serve our justice-involved residents, including our re-entry population, LA County is reexamining our approach to juvenile justice. Today’s action helps families and our youth in detention while setting up future generations for success rather than incarceration.”
“The amount of money we are actually collecting on these old debts isn’t enough to even cover the resources we spend following up with these families,” said Supervisor Hahn. “It is time to end this practice once and for all.”
This motion immediately discontinues the collection and acceptance of pre-2009 juvenile detention fees, and discharges the balance of any outstanding debt against approximately 52,000 accounts. LA County will also notify parents and guardians that they should cease making payments.
“I would like to thank Supervisor Solis for introducing this historic motion to erase all past debt associated with juvenile detention fees,” said Anthony Robles of Youth Justice Coalition, who grew up in the San Gabriel Valley. “Today’s action will free many families from the unjust burden of this unnecessary debt, bringing us one crucial step closer to creating a more just LA County.”
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. Today’s action follows a Supervisor Solis motion in May 2018 that called for a plan to discontinue the collection of these fees.
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