Trenton – The Senate Law and Public Safety Committee advanced legislation sponsored by Senator Nellie Pou that would eliminate certain juvenile justice fines, fees, costs and other monetary penalties.
The bill, S-3319, would eliminate certain statutory penalties that are imposed on individuals involved in the juvenile justice system and that are not within the discretion of the court to dismiss.
“Costs and fees in the form of criminal penalty can put a financial strain on youth and their families who are likely to be covering these costs,” said Senator Pou (D- Passaic / Bergen). “For some families, paying these fees may mean having to choose between necessities such as food, utilities, and housing. Minority and low-income families are disproportionately affected by these costs. Rather than imposing monetary stress on individuals, we want to ensure that rehabilitation in the juvenile justice system does not solely rely on an individual’s ability to pay strenuous fees.”
The New Jersey Supreme Court recently issued an order to dismiss hundreds of juvenile warrants for unpaid discretionary and non-mandatory assessments.
The bill was released from committee by a vote of 4-0.