Fines keep some kids in virtual debtor’s prison, Juvenile Law Center finds



    One million kids are arrested in the United States every year. Families who can afford the associated court fees and fines have a reasonable chance of keeping their children out of subsequent legal troubles.

    A new report from the Juvenile Law Center focuses instead on what happens to those kids who can’t pay for their freedom. The study found that an inability to pay fines for even minor infractions such as truancy could lead to incarceration.

    “It’s justice based on income,” explained Jessica Feierman, lead author of the report and associate director of the Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center. “If you don’t have the money, you might stay locked up in a secure facility that’s essentially a jail.”

    Feierman discussed the report’s findings with NewsWorks Tonight host Dave Heller. Click on the audio player above to hear their conversation.

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