Imposing fines and fees on juveniles places an unjust burden on working families, perpetuating a cycle of debt. Kansas youth not only face fines from the courts but also various additional fees like booking fees, lawyer fees, program fees, and frequent drug testing. When families struggle to pay these costs, their cases are prolonged due to missed payments or absences related to court dates. This accumulation of debt, civil judgments, and damaged credit severely limits the future prospects of young individuals. Disproportionately affecting Black youth, these fines and fees contribute to systemic racism, as racial disparities in Kansas arrests of Black youth have increased. Instead of promoting rehabilitation, fines and fees offer no constructive purpose and can even heighten the chances of reoffending. Moreover, these financial impositions make up only a small portion of a county's budget. In 2020, Wyandotte County collected a mere $14,000 out of a $5 million budget, spending more money pursuing unpaid fines and fees than what they ultimately received.

Learn more about our work with the Debt Free Justice Coalition.


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Dante Bristow— Fines and Fees

This video features Dante Bristow sharing his personal experiences with fines and fees imposed on juveniles in the legal system, particularly impacting financially disadvantaged communities. Dante explains how these fines and fees create a cycle of debt and can lead to incarceration. He discusses the long-term consequences he faces, such as difficulty passing background checks and the impact on his ability to live a normal life.

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