New Jersey just eliminated fines for youth in the juvenile system. And that’s a good thing.
Until this bill’s passage, New Jersey had some of the most punitive fines in the country. We have seen families in New Jersey taking on debt because of mounting court fees, and we have heard of others considering criminal activities like drug sales because they lack the money or the job opportunities that would allow them to pay their fees. Unpaid debt can cause youth to incur extended probation, placement in a facility, civil judgment on their record, an inability to expunge their records, and even driver’s license suspensions.