Report: California’s Juvenile Detention Fees Hurt Families
This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. Mexico will elect a new president next year the campaign has started a new conversation about the Mexico U.S. border. And Mexico some intellectuals and politicians say a tighten border may have an effect that no one anticipated. Prompting the Mexican government to improve conditions at home so there is less motivation to leave. Lauren Madeleine reports from Mexico City. Patriotism on display. To know what price at least here Donald Trump selection has triggered a rise in Mexican nationalism. He is he's writing about Trump's stance on immigration and a push for the border wall. He's a member of the Mexico Senate committee. He says Trump is given the left of political gift. I never dreamed of a you was present that would be afraid of Mexico and afraid of competition. The committee continues to promote an integrated North American economy. He says that is a challenge right now. In the U.S., there is a notion that is not correct that we are a security threat and just look at him building a wall is absurd. Is a political scientist at the Mexican University. He's at the idea of a wall with the desk bricks or drones say that they finally Mexicans have coddled the illusion that if things were bad enough, they could always go North for new opportunity. So if you put up the wall there's no better symbol that tells you you are stuck. He says Mexicans are focus like never before and the inability to create jobs. Mexican politicians have to start care less and less because they do know that they can export Mexicans to the U.S. but that has changed in the past two years because immigration is close to zero. The research center in 2015 that migration from the U.S. to Mexico was 0. That remains the case today. Since Trump started talking about the border, some Mexicans have come home. Mexicans were coming back because they knew that Mexico was a land of opportunity. He has not what he is selling. The violence levels have risen. They are coming back because they are scared or because they been deported. Figures like Lopez are leveraging that fear. He told U.S. audiences that the wall will not stop the flow of workers only make it more dangerous. He calls an expanded wall a criminal act. Donald Trump has permeated the discourse. That is the chief editor of a channel devoted to the economy. He has positioned himself as the only candidate that would know how to react to Donald Trump. This is having a success because most want to see retaliation. They both want change on the border. Trump wants it sealed and Lopez once a U.S. to reform immigration so that Mexicans can cross legally. The only questions are whose vision of the border will be come become reality? Having your child be arrested and detained for crime is a devastating experience for most families. It can also be financially devastating for families who can least afford it because of a practice in many counties to charge families for the child stay in juvenile Hall. San Diego was one of those counties charging $30 a day and $28 a day for electronic monitoring. A report on this practice released by the UC Berkeley school of law finds the fee policy and their words harmful, unlawful, and costly. Joining me is Stephanie Campos-Bui . A clinical supervising attorney and a co-author of the report called making families pay. Welcome to the program. Thank you for having me. I mentioned the fees that San Diego charges for juvenile detention but California charges more fees. So under state law counties are allowed but not required to charge a variety of fees to families with children going through the juvenile justice system. These fees can be for things like detention, probation supervision, electronic monitoring, drug testing and even representation by up a public defender. Reporter: How much can these fees at up to? It really varies. In terms of detention fees, which are for the cost of each day that a young person spends in a facility state law authorizes the amount of about $30. In terms of the other fees like drug testing and supervision cost all-state law says that it should be related to the reasonable cost of providing that service. So we can see a drug testing fee from $10 and one County to over $30 and another County. Your report making families pay include some examples of families that have been really impacted by these fees. One woman lost her home Correct. She is a single mother son was detained and was then charged for over $16,000 in fees and she sold her house in the effort to pay off the debt but still had a large amount to pay off. She ended up filing for bankruptcy in the county still went after her to try to collect that money. It was only until a federal court stepped in and ordered them to stop that the stopped pursuing that against her. What is a concept behind charging families these fees for juvenile detention? I guess back when they were first authorized in the early 1960s there was an idea that families were dropping off their children at juvenile detention facilities and being able to no longer had her their misbehaving children. We haven't actually seen that happen and have no record of that happening. Even today there are screen mechanisms in place and children will be diverted in other programs before being placed in county facilities but I think it comes back to trying to allow counties to cover their costs. State law says that these fees are meant to protect the integrity of counties but in doing that we've seen that come at the expense of economic and social harm too many families and communities and communities of color. When it comes to recouping cost your report found that counties are not doing so well with these fees and they don't recoup the cost of incarceration of juveniles. That is correct many counties that requested records from to get an understanding of how much they were charging families and how much they were collecting back we found that many counties were spending as much and sometimes more in resources and in staff and they were getting back each year so for example in Santa Clara County, which decided to end their fees earlier this year in January they were spending for hundred $50,000 for hundred $50,000 and a net loser. There is a move in the state Senate to end the juvenile detention fees statewide. What kind of support does not have? It has a great amount of support. Centers are the primary authors of the bill but there are nine others Senate members who are co-authors so a good amount of centers are already on board and the bill has made its way through two policy committees. It has made it this far without any opposition from groups or other stakeholders. As you said they will eliminate these fees themselves. Correct. They can't but I think all the counties that have decided to look at this issue recently within the last year to assess the harm that's been caused to families and young people and then looking at the cost that is involved in assessing and collecting these fees they decided to end the fees and somewhere another. So the counties have the decision, but at the end of the day I think the state could step in in advance the issue faster and really save thousands of Californians a lot of economic harm that has a ton of collateral consequences I've been speaking with Stephanie Campos-Bui . Stephanie Thank you so much. Thank you.
The arrest of a child could be a devastating experience for families. But for families struggling to make ends meet, it could also lead them to rack up debt.
A report by UC Berkeley School of Law Policy Advocacy Clinic looks at the cost associated with juvenile detentions in California.
In San Diego, the county charges families $30 for every day a minor is locked up in juvenile detention. It also charges $28 for every day a minor has to wear an electronic monitoring device. The average stay costs almost $1,000, according to the report.
“State law says the fees are meant to protect the fiscal integrity of counties. But in doing that we’ve seen that come at the expense of economic and social harm to many families and particularly communities of color,” said Stephanie Campos-Bui, a clinical supervising attorney at UC Berkeley School of Law Policy Advocacy Clinic and co-author of the report, "Making Families Pay."
Juvenile justice policy advocates also say the fees undermine rehabilitation efforts. Some counties have eliminated the fees and a bill is working it's way through the state legislature to get rid of the fees.
Campos-Bui discusses the impacts of juvenile detention fees Wednesday on Midday Edition.