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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: March 15, 2022 04:53 PM
From: Senator Gene Yaw and Sen. Amanda M. Cappelletti
To: All Senate members
Subject: Fines & Fees in the Juvenile Justice System
In the near future, we plan to introduce legislation to strengthen Pennsylvania’s juvenile justice system.  The legislation is prompted by a recommendation made by Pennsylvania’s bipartisan, inter-branch Juvenile Justice Task Force.
According to the Task Force, financial obligations are among the conditions that can burden youth and keep them under court jurisdiction. Financial obligations can be part of any informal or formal resolution of a case.  The share of cases where financial obligations are assessed has nearly doubled in the past 10 years to just under 60 percent. Costs/fees are the most prevalent type of financial obligation, representing 77 percent of all financial obligations, and in 2018, youth were assessed roughly $2 million in costs/fees—up 12 percent since 2009—averaging $173 per youth. Pennsylvania does not track in a standardized way, or report at the state level, how various types of fines or fees are imposed, where the money goes, or how it is used.
This legislation would do just that - standardize practices that ensure accountability and fairness across the Commonwealth, while promoting better community safety outcomes by ensuring low-level cases do not get caught up in the system.
We hope you will join us in cosponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as SB1233