House Moves to Ban Juvenile Justice Fees

Herod bill to end cycles of poverty for families in the juvenile justice system gets preliminary House approval

DENVER, CO– The House today advanced a bill to eliminate court fees for juveniles in the justice system. The bill passed the House on Second Reading

“There are thousands of kids in Colorado’s juvenile courts every year. And every year these youth are charged administrative fees that can sabotage their reform and set them up to fail,” said Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver. “Young people will still be held accountable for their crimes, and they’ll still be required to pay restitution to their victims, but the court system will no longer be perpetuating the poverty that often explains why kids get in trouble in the first place. It’s time to take away the obstacles standing in the way of our youth bouncing back and succeeding.”

HB21-1315, sponsored by Representatives Leslie Herod and Matt Soper, eliminates certain fees levied on individuals and families in the juvenile justice system. The average fees per case total about $300 in Colorado, despite studies showing that about 40% of Americans would be unable to cover a $400 emergency. Further, it is estimated that the state of Colorado spends about 75% of juvenile fee revenue on collection, meaning only 25 cents out of every dollar paid by families ends up contributing to the courts. 

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