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House Bill 500 – Elimination of fees for children involved in the juvenile justice system

House Bill 500 – Elimination of fees for children involved in the juvenile justice system

by
Niklas Kleinworth
February 7, 2022
Niklas Kleinworth
Author Image
February 7, 2022

Bill Description: House Bill 500 eliminates the assessment and collection of all fees for child offenders involved in the juvenile justice system, their parents, or their legal guardians.

Rating: 0

Analysis: 

Does it create, expand, or enlarge any agency, board, program, function, or activity of government?

HB 500 shrinks an activity of government by removing the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections’ ability to assess and collect fees from child offenders, their parents, or their legal guardians. This legislation removes this power from 27 instances in Idaho Code, reducing the overall size and influence of government. 

(+1)

Does it directly or indirectly create or increase any taxes, fees, or other assessments?

The assessment and collection of fees led to a net gain of $152,610 to the juvenile corrections system statewide. Though this value only amounts to 0.3% of the annual budget for this agency, the cost burden would shift from offenders to Idaho taxpayers more generally. This socializes the cost to operate the juvenile justice system by removing financial responsibility from those entering the system. Though small, this is a net increase in costs to taxpayers.

(-1)

Does it increase government spending (for objectionable purposes) or debt?

Though HB 500 cuts spending on the collection and assessment of detention fees, it does not address spending by the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections beyond that required to run the fee program. Rather, this bill only cuts a revenue stream for the department.  Therefore, additional taxes and debt must be accrued to make up the difference between administrative costs and revenue under current law.

(-1)

Does it directly or indirectly create or increase penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for nonviolent crimes?

Fees assessed in the juvenile justice system are not part of the restitution an offender must pay after the conviction of a crime. But these fees cause a financial impact that may serve as a punishment. Removing these fees prevents offenders from having to pay beyond what was outlined as restitution in their conviction, reducing penalties overall.

(+1)

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