SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Barely 24 hours after their formal introduction, three landmark juvenile justice bills joint authored by Sens. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) won approval today in their first hearing at the Senate Public Safety Committee.
Senate Bill 190 – Juvenile Fees
Ends the harmful, unlawful and costly assessment and collection of administrative fees against families with youth in the juvenile justice system.
Senate Bill 394 – Juveniles Life Without the Possibility of Parole
Brings CA into compliance with Montgomery v. Louisiana decision that juveniles cannot be sentenced to Life Without Parole.
Senate Bill 395 – Miranda Rights for Youth
Requires youth under the age of 18 consult with legal counsel before they waive their constitutional rights in interrogations with police.
“A recent study of exonerations found that 13 percent of adults had falsely confessed, compared to 42 percent of juveniles. False confessions are a problem for youth and for the very idea of fair justice,” said Sen. Ricardo Lara. “Given those shocking numbers, it is critical to ensure youth understand their rights before waiving them.”
“Sadly, too many poor kids and kids of color today are more likely to end up as victims of the juvenile justice system,” said Sen. Holly J. Mitchell after the Senate Public Safety Committee approved the measure. “If one believes that our children will be tomorrow’s leaders then we must look through a child-development lens and provide the appropriate resources and policies to get them there.”
As drafted, SB 190 would end the harmful, unlawful and costly assessment and collection of administrative fees against families with youth in the juvenile justice system. The measure coincides with a growing trend where at least four counties – Alameda, Butte, Contra Costa and Santa Clara – in the past year have stopped collecting the fees due to the high societal and family costs and the limited or non-existent revenue collected.
SB 190 is also based in part on research by the non-partisan Public Policy Institute of California, which shows that poor kids and kids of color are more likely to end up in the juvenile justice system – the fees for which Mitchell said are often charged to families who can least afford them.
The Public Safety Committee approved SB 190 on a bipartisan vote.
The three bills are part of the Equity and Justice package to keep young children out of the juvenile justice system and fix longstanding inequity for youth and adults.
The two Los Angeles-area lawmakers explained the bill package during a press conference Monday at a Sacramento-area grade school. Watch that press conference HERE.