The Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee voted to advance HB 1381 today, which YSRP hopes will usher in a more humane era of support and care for youth involved in the criminal legal system.
The year-long collaborative work of Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project and the Justice Lab at Temple Law School’s Sheller Center for Social Justice was featured in Eli Hager’s March 2, 2017 Washington Post article entitled Your Child’s Been Sent to Jail. And Then Comes the Bill. Hager’s article describes the practice of how the Department of Human Services in Philadelphia collects fees from parents for the cost of their child’s incarceration in the juvenile justice system through a city-contracted attorney who summons parents, often working-poor parents, to his office and assesses their ability to pay. Writes Hager,
“Groups of law students, juvenile defense lawyers and others have begun to challenge this payment system, arguing that it is akin to taxing parents for their child’s loss of liberty — and punishing them with debt. In Philadelphia, the City Council is meeting Friday to consider abolishing the practice.”The article goes on to describe other jurisdictions across the country where the practice exists in various forms. In only a handful of counties, particularly three in California, has the practice been banned altogether. Read the full article here.