Jeff Selbin Examines the Whole-Family Impact of Juvenile Justice System Fees and Calls for Moratorium

Jeff Selbin (‘89), Professor of Law and Founder and Director of the Policy Advocacy Clinic at UC Berkeley School of Law, was featured in a Slate article discussing the inescapable hardship and perverse effect of juvenile court fees (“Trapped: Most States Let Courts Fine Teenagers. The Debt Is Taking Down Their Whole Families.” June 22). “What you see over time is that juvenile fines and fees rarely land on individual young people. They land on whole families. Whole communities.” The article also cited an opinion piece Jeff co-authored for Juvenile Justice Information Exchange urging governors, juvenile court judges and juvenile probation chiefs to suspend fines during pandemic (“Moratorium on Juvenile Court Fees and Fines Can Ease Family Burdens During COVID-19,” May 11). “Juvenile bills, which quickly add up to thousands of dollars, force families to choose between paying for necessities like food, rent and utilities and paying the court, which also exacts a severe emotional toll. Because the juvenile system disproportionately punishes black and brown children and children from low-income families, assessing and collecting fees and fines during the pandemic will cause the greatest harm to some of our most vulnerable families.”