Fines for youthful violations can linger for years. A bill would end that.

Miranda Jeyaretnam, Public Source •
two people sitting at a table inside

As a teen, Delvin Reddick faced a choice between pursuing a degree in social work or hitting pause on his education to pay off court debt stemming from a theft charge.

The court levied fines, fees and restitution against Reddick that he says equaled what his tuition would be to attend the Community College of Allegheny County. 

He decided to put off school but paying the court-ordered fines and fees couldn’t happen overnight. And, when he turned 18 and was still chipping away at his debt, the court transferred the case to his adult record — a consequence that haunted him for the next decade.

Advocates say many Allegheny County residents have had their lives upended by financial consequences of acts they committed in youth.

House Bill 1381, which passed the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee in September, could change that.


About the Expert

Nadia Mozaffar is a Senior Attorney at Juvenile Law Center. Her work focuses on advancing educational rights and opportunities for children in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems, economic justice issues, and protecting the rights of young people in the adult justice system.

Chris Lin joined Juvenile Law Center in 2022 as a staff attorney with the Debt Free Justice campaign, working to end fees and fines in the juvenile justice system. Before joining Juvenile Law Center, he was an associate director with the American Constitution Society, and worked with lawyers and law students around the country to advance a progressive view of the Constitution.