The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted a proposal initiated by Board President Dave Cortese that permanently eliminates the fees and fines charged to families of youth who are in Juvenile Hall detention.
The Board’s action was taken at its meeting on Tuesday, January 24, and comes six months after a one-year moratorium was placed on assessing fees, also at Supervisor Cortese’s request.
“As the County, we are not in the business of adding financial burdens to families already facing the challenges of a youth in detention. We are in the business of helping families thrive,” said Supervisor Dave Cortese. “Eliminating these fees and fines helps us achieve just that.”
Under state law, the County is able to charge administrative fees and fines related to the detention and probation of youth. These fees include a Juvenile Court Ward Fee, an Electronic Monitoring Fee and a Public Defender Representation Fee. Depending on how long a youth is in Juvenile Hall detention, a family may have to pay up to $930 per month, or $30 a day, leading many low-income families to accrue criminal justice debt they can’t afford to pay.
Unpaid fees and fines can total thousands of dollars for some families. Outstanding fees are owed as a civil judgment, and if families do not pay, the debt is referred to the Franchise Tax Board, resulting in a tax-refund being intercepted, wages garnished or bank accounts levied.
The County of Santa Clara becomes the fourth in the state to permanently eliminate the practice of assessing and collecting juvenile administrative fees.
Media Contact: Janice Rombeck Office of Supervisor Dave Cortese, (408) 299-5030 - office or (408) 803-2095 - cell.
Posted: January 31, 2017