Los Angeles County supervisors voted Tuesday to stop collecting fees once charged to families of juvenile delinquents for their incarceration, ending a practice decried by criminal justice advocates as an unfair tax on minorities and an ineffective means of rehabilitating young people who commit crimes.
The motion, sponsored by Supervisors Hilda Solis and Janice Hahn, directs the county’s Probation Department to stop accepting payment and cancel nearly $90 million in juvenile detention fees assessed before 2009, when the department suspended new fees but continued to collect payment of old ones.
The vote also follows a statewide ban, which took effect Jan. 1, on a range of court costs and fees charged to parents and guardians of children in the juvenile justice system.
Almost every state in the country allows youth or their families to be charged for costs of the youths’ detention, supervision or care while in custody, according to an analysis by the Juvenile Law Center, a public-interest law firm in Philadelphia.
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