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Double Charged: Youth Radio Reporters on their Series About the True Cost of Juvenile Justice

Brett Myers/Youth Radio
A courtroom at the Juvenile Justice Center in Alameda County, Calif where fees are regularly charged to families for everything from public defenders to per/night stays in juvenile hall. Brett Myers/Youth Radio

For the past year, Youth Radio's Sayre Quevedo and Myles Bess have been investigating the true cost of the U.S. juvenile justice system for a series called Double Charged. They focused their reporting on California, which has the largest overall population of incarcerated youth in the country. 

They've spent time with families who are increasingly being asked to cover the price tag of their child's incarceration. They looked at how GPS ankle bracelets are being used in place of jail time, seeing how it reduces costs at the same time as it may encourage overuse. And  they've explored the legal punishment of restitution, which requires young offenders to pay back their victims before they can get off probation.

"I interviewed a lot of the juveniles, and it's kind of easy to just take their side, you know what I mean, when you hear a 14 year old talking about I can't pay these thousands of dollars, I  can't afford this, it's stressful on my family, blah blah blah, my mother... and then on the flip side, hearing how the victims, how it's damaged them, how it's damaged their family life, how it's damaged them emotionally and mentally and things like that. One thing that I wanted to take away was perspective..." 

To get more perspective, you can listen to the stories that aired on Crosscurrents from the series Double Charged here. For more reporting, you can visit Youth Radio's website

To listen to the full interview, click the player above.