Law Offices of Jess C. Bedore III - Certified Specialist in Criminal Law
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Penalizing juveniles with fines could be a hindrance economically

Fining juveniles is one way that a judge or court can impose a penalty. However, this isn't always the best idea. In fact, it can be detrimental to the offender, his or her family and his or her future avoiding criminal activities.

While a fine might seem just, the truth is that many people who are involved in crimes are participating in crimes of necessity. For example, the child who sells a drug on the street corner for $20 might use that money for food, unlike a drug kingpin who uses it to support an elite lifestyle. There is a significant difference.

Fining someone who has made mistakes without considering his or her economic position is completely detrimental to his or her recovery. The individual might not go to a juvenile jail, but he or she will be in a different kind of prison, unable to pay the fine. That person then may turn back to illegal activities to pay off a debt that simply can't be handled.

One possible solution to juvenile crimes resulting from poverty could be to encourage children to participate in workforce-development programs as a form of parole. It gives them a chance to earn the money they were struggling for while also teaching them how to handle difficult financial situations without turning to crime.

Pushing an already impoverished person into debt shouldn't be the only solution. If your case is one like the above, you may want to speak with your attorney about suggesting alternatives to your child's punishments in court to help prevent economic strain.

Source: The New Yorker, "The Long-Term Costs of Fining Juvenile Offenders," Eric Markowitz, Dec. 24, 2016

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