Trenton – The Senate today passed legislation sponsored by Senators Nellie Pou and Nia Gill 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. At this bill’s effective date, any unpaid outstanding balances of these monetary penalties, including civil judgments and warrants, would be dismissed.
“Many of these juveniles are from low-income households, and these fees and monetary penalties put a financial strain on families at precisely the time they are in need of relief,” said Senator Pou (D- Passaic/ Bergen). “Further, research has shown these extra fees can have long-term negative consequences, including higher dropout chances, and the increased likelihood of recidivism. We need to be lifting these young people up, not putting them back into a financial hole the minute they go free.”
“The administrative fees imposed on juveniles can be crippling to families, especially for low-income families with limited resources,” said Senator Gill (D-Essex/Passaic). “This bill will eliminate the additional fines which are not in the discretion of the court to dismiss and will alleviate this unnecessary burden on families who often are left to shoulder the cost.
The New Jersey Supreme Court recently issued an order to dismiss hundreds of juvenile warrants for unpaid discretionary and non-mandatory assessments. New Jersey now joins California, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and Washington in eliminating juvenile fines and court fees.
The bill was passed by a vote of 27-19.