Injustice in the Lowest Courts: How Municipal Courts Rob America's Youth

Nolan Anderson, Randy Kreider and Kristen Schnell ,
chairs in a court room

New research from Nolan Anderson, Randy Kreider, and Kristen Schnell—students  in Columbia Law School’s Community Advocacy Lab—reveals the dangers municipal courts across the country pose to youth and their families. Local court systems have the authority to impose devastating financial penalties on young people for ordinary teenage behavior such as loitering, underage drinking, or skipping school. This report is part of an ongoing collaboration with the Columbia Community Advocacy Lab and Juvenile Law Center aimed at bringing broader justice reform. The findings highlight that shifting our approach to municipal courts need not happen only at the local level; state legislative changes hold great promise for reform.

About the Expert

Jessica Feierman oversees Juvenile Law Center’s projects and programs. Feierman currently leads a national effort to end fines and fees in the juvenile justice system and is engaged in litigation aimed at eliminating solitary confinement and other abusive practices in juvenile facilities.

Katrina Goodjoint is a staff attorney at Juvenile Law Center, where her work currently focuses on addressing economic justice and equity in the juvenile justice system through litigation, amicus and policy advocacy efforts.