California has reduced many of the fees and costs minors and their families pay in the California juvenile justice system.
The changes resulted from passage of California Senate Bill 190 (SB 190), which became effective on January 1, 2018.
Among the costs juveniles under age 21 and their parents/guardians are no longer liable for are:
- The cost of a court-appointed lawyer to represent the minor;
- Administrative and application fees for any home detention program; and
- Costs of substance abuse treatment and/or testing.
Limits on solitary confinement of minors
California law has also been changed to limit the circumstances under which someone under age 18 can be placed in “room confinement” (solitary confinement).
Other than in certain emergency situations, room confinement of minors:
- May not be used before other less restrictive options have been exhausted unless doing so would pose a threat to another minor or staff;
- May not be used to the extent that it would compromise the mental and physical health of the minor; and
- May not exceed four hours except during an emergency such as a natural disaster or facility-wide threat.
After four hours of solitary confinement, staff must do one or more of the following:
- Return the minor or ward to the general population;
- Consult with mental health or medical staff; and/or
- Develop an individualized plan for reintegrating the minor into the general population.
If the minor must be left in confinement, the staff must:
- Document the reason;
- Develop an individualized plan for reintegration into the general population; and
- Get the written approval of the facility superintendent or his or her designee every four hours thereafter.
The law does not apply to single-person rooms or cells used for housing or during normal sleeping hours.
It also does not apply to minors in court holding facilities or adult facilities.