Sessions Rescinds Two Juvenile Justice Guidances, “Retires” OJJDP’s Online College

John Kelly, The Chronicle of Social Change •

"Sessions’ action on the notice prompted immediate condemnation by the Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center, which helped prompt the notice with its 2016 report, “Debtors’ Prison for Kids? The High Cost of Fines and Fees in the Juvenile Justice System.”

“The value of the guidance was to use the leverage of the Department of Justice to advise on best practices,” said Juvenile Law Center Executive Director Sue Mangold in the organization’s press release.

Several jurisdictions – including PhiladelphiaContra Costa County, California and Sacramento County, California – have cut back on fines and fees since Juvenile Law Center and the Justice Department brought attention to the issue.

“Punishing youth for their inability to pay fees still violates the U.S. Constitution; yesterday’s move from the Justice Department doesn’t change that,” said Juvenile Law Center Associate Director Jessica Feierman. “We will be advocating in courts across the country to ensure that youth are protected from the harmful and discriminatory impact of inappropriate fines and fees.”

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The Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy •