This memorandum discusses juvenile fines and fees, alternatives to fines and fees, the Judicial Council, recent legislation, and the Judicial Branch budget.
Revised Kansas Juvenile Justice Code
Under Kansas law, a “juvenile” is defined as a person who is 10 or more years of age but less than 18 years of age, is alleged to be a juvenile offender, or has been adjudicated as a juvenile offender and continues to be subject to the jurisdiction of the court.
The primary goal of the Revised Kansas Juvenile Justice Code (Code) (KSA 38-2301 et seq.) is to:
- Promote public safety;
- Hold juvenile offenders accountable for their behavior; and
- Improve their ability to live more productively and responsibly in the community.
Juvenile Fines and Fees and Other Costs
Juveniles can be assessed multiple types of fines and fees associated with their involvement in the juvenile justice system. The types of fines and fees available via the Code include:
- Confinement, supervision, and treatment costs;
- Court appointed attorney fees;
- Court docket fees and costs;
- Drug and alcohol evaluation fees;
- Infectious disease testing;
- Expungement docket fees;
- Fines per offense;
- Probation and supervision fees; and
Non-monetary Alternatives to Fines and Fees
Under the Code, juveniles can be held accountable via non-monetary alternatives, including:
- Community service;
- Education programs;
- Intervention programs;
- Mediation; and
- Community-based programs.
The Judicial Council studied the topic of juvenile fines and fees with regard to expungement eligibility. The 2020 Report of the Criminal Law Advisory Committee can be found at http://www.kansasjudicialcouncil.org/studies-and-reports.
Recent Legislative Action
During the 2023 Legislative Session, the House Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice (House Committee) held a hearing on 2023 HB 2073, a bill that would prohibit fines and fees from being assessed against a juvenile or juvenile’s parent, guardian, or custodian. The bill passed the House Committee with amendments but was later stricken from the House Calendar.
Also during the 2023 Legislative Session, the House Committee held a hearing on 2023 HB 2113, a bill that would prohibit the denial of a petition for expungement, due to the petitioner’s inability to pay outstanding costs, fines, or fees. The bill passed the House Committee with amendments but was later stricken from the House Calendar.
During the 2022 Legislative Session, the House Committee held an informational hearing on the elimination of juvenile fines and fees. The Office of Special Counsel for the Judicial Branch offered neutral testimony regarding the potential fiscal and operational impact of eliminating fines and fees, including concern about retroactive effect, should a bill be passed that would eliminate juvenile fines and fees. [Note: The Judicial Branch’s budget has transitioned from being funded by docket fees to being funded by the State General Fund pursuant to 2022 HB 2541.]
by Meredith Fry
Senior Research Analyst