In a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision is a deceptively simple line that should affect, and in many cases, transform the way Americans think about juveniles who kill. At the heart of the 2012 groundbreaking case, Miller v. Alabama, said the Court, is the idea, proven by neuroscience and behavioral research, that "children who commit even heinous crimes are capable of change."
But when a 17-year-old commits a crime, is he or she considered a juvenile or an adult? The answer to that depends on the state in which the crime was committed. Increasingly, individual states are enacting laws that recognize 17-year-olds as juveniles, reversing laws that suggested they are adults.
When young people graduate from the juvenile justice system, they have, by any reasonable measure, repaid their debt to society. But one debt is not easily repaid: the hundreds and even thousands of dollars in fines, fees and restitution that young people and their families owe as a result of their cases.
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