Oct. 11, 2017: LOS ANGELES TIMES - Gov. Jerry Brown signs legislation to ease punishment, criminal fines for juvenile offenders

October 12, 2017

By Jazmine Ulloa

Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed nine bills to aid young people facing charges and serving time, a victory for a statewide coalition of criminal justice groups that brought together celebrities and former youth offenders in a push to divert children from a path to prison.

The new laws will increase parole opportunities and ease punishment for people who committed crimes as children or teens. They will allow courts to seal certain juvenile records and limit the administrative fees that counties charge families with children in juvenile detention.

Five of the bills were part of a package of proposals introduced at the beginning of the year by state Sens. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens). The legislation, they said, was based on studies showing that adolescent brains have not fully matured and research that found court practices and fines disproportionately affect low-income and black and Latino children.

“Sadly, too many poor kids and kids of color today are more likely to end up as victims of the juvenile justice system,” Mitchell said in a statement. “If one believes that our children will be tomorrow’s leaders then we must look through a child-development lens.”

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