The Supreme Court Can Put a Stop to Excessive Fines on Children

Jessica Feierman, The Progressive •

When Shyara Hill of Philadelphia was 16 years old, she was arrested in school after defending her little brother from a bully. Three years later, she still couldn’t close her juvenile justice case because, having just started her very first job the previous week, she didn’t have the $420 in fees that the court required. For that reason only, she remained on probation for another year.

In Arkansas, a 13-year-old boy we at Juvenile Law Center interviewed, who asked that his name not be used, spent three months in a locked juvenile facility – including time in solitary confinement – because he could not pay a $500 fine for skipping school. He wasn’t represented by a lawyer in court, and he didn’t argue for any other outcome because he knew that neither he nor his mother could afford the fine.

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