Effective immediately, Alameda County will end the assessment and collection of fees in juvenile court. The repeal is set to offer “immediate relief to more than 2,900 families with outstanding debt and shielding thousands of families who pass through Alameda’s juvenile courts.”
This action was voted on unanimously by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors on July 12, 2016 and is the first of its kind in the state of California. The effort was lead by the U.C. Berkeley School of Law Policy Advocacy Clinic and the East Bay Community Law Center, in collaboration with key county departments (including the Probation Department, the Central Collections Agency and the Public Defender’s Office) and on behalf of several community partners, including the East Bay Children’s Law Office, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and the Prison Law Office.
“This repeal is a victory for families and young people throughout Alameda County,” says Attorney Kate Weisburd who directs the Youth Defender Clinic at the East Bay Community Law Center and represents young people in juvenile court. “This punitive debt has no place in the juvenile system—it undermines family stability at a time when stability is needed most,” Weisburd explains. “The families we work with are some of the poorest in the County and yet they were asked to foot the bill for the juvenile justice system.”
Organizations mentioned/involved: East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC)