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Prosecution for fare evasion undermines a child’s future, while unnecessarily burdening public safety systems. Youth leaders from the Youth Justice Center have experienced the impact of the criminalization of youth transit fare evasion:
Tanisha Denard and her two siblings saw too often how their mom struggled to come up with $100 a month to buy student metro passes for her children. But when it came to choosing transportation over housing or food, she couldn’t do it. So, while Tanisha’s mom had the impossible choice of buying transit passes for her kids or keeping her family from being hungry or homeless, Tanisha had to choose between walking miles through tough neighborhoods, getting a truancy ticket, or facing a penal code violation for transit fare evasion. This is how she ended up in juvenile hall.
Ademir Aguilar, a high school student in Los Angeles County, where fare evasion tickets for youth under the age of 18 average 10,000 a year, received a ticket the day after his monthly pass had expired. The ticket Ademir received, having not even realized that his pass had expired, put him into the juvenile justice system with his first conviction.