Juvenile Fees

Fees that youth must pay when they have some involvement with the juvenile justice system exacerbate racial/ethnic disparities, increase youth recidivism, and generally cost more money than jurisdictions can collect. Young people often lack the means to pay fees, as well as any fines that are assessed for non-payment, which together can result in a pile of debt and higher rates of reoffending before even reaching adulthood. In lieu of payment, judges can use community service as an option. We worked with partners to abolish most of the juvenile fees in Texas in the 2021 legislative session and successfully advocated to eliminate the remaining fees as part of the 2023 Texas legislative session, signed into law by Governor Abbott. Now, justice-involved youth and their families can focus on rehabilitation instead of worrying about paying burdensome court fees.

Other Work

Learn about other justice issues we work on

Team Members

Headshot of Brett Merfish

Brett M. Merfish

Director of Youth Justice,
Youth Homelessness Project, Juvenile Justice Project

Headshot of Martin Martinez

Martin A. Martinez, M.P.Aff

Senior Policy Analyst,
Youth Homelessness Project, Juvenile Justice Project