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Juvenile Justice News

I Was a Kid in Solitary Confinement

My young parents didn’t have the skill sets to properly raise me, which at a young age caused me to search for acceptance in other places. I began running away at the age of 13 and quickly got heavily involved in drug use.

Remembering Kalief Browder: The State of Youth in Adult Jails and Prisons Two-Years After Kalief Browder’s Death

Today, June 6, 2017, marks the two-year anniversary of the devastating loss of Kalief Browder. Kalief was a twenty-two year old whose traumatic and deeply unjust contact with the adult criminal justice system when he was only 16-years old changed the course of his life forever.

Sens. Lankford and Booker introduce bipartisan bill to ban juvenile solitary confinement

Senators James Lankford R-Okla., and Cory Booker D-N.J., on Tuesday introduced the MERCY Act, a bipartisan bill that would prohibit the solitary confinement of juveniles who are tried in the federal system and held in pretrial facilities or juvenile detention facilities. 

'Culture of cover-up:' Warden forced to retire from prison where whistleblower says teen inmates abused

During her four years as the supervisor of a program for teen inmates jailed at the Clemens Unit in Brazoria, an adult prison, Dominique Mitchell repeatedly alleged abuse and neglect

'Raise the Age' Laws Could Reduce Recidivism For Young Offenders

You have to be 18 to vote in a general election or join the military without your parents’ consent — and you’ve got to be 21 before you can belly up to the bar.

A decade after prison, a poet studies for the bar exam

Reginald Dwayne Betts has wanted to be a lawyer for almost as long as he has wanted to be a poet. “Poetry and law have always been intertwined in my mind,” he said recently, “in part because poetry gives me the language to pretend that I can answer questions, even if I can’t.” We were in New Haven, Connecticut, and Betts was three days from his Yale Law School graduation. The bar exam was two months away. He was focused on his final paper for an empirical-research class: twenty pages on critiques, in the media, of “broken windows” policing. 

A Foundation Works To Engage Journalists in Juvenile Justice Reform

Reporters generally stink at math, yet they love numbers. The bigger the number, the more compelling the story becomes. Here's a number that scribes will hear at a juvenile-justice conference this week, sponsored by the Tow Foundation: It costs up to $90,000 to jail a youth for a year, and the re-offender rate is higher compared to cheaper intervention programs that stress staying in school and out of lockup.

A Judge Saw Potential, and Saved My Life

I was 15 when we snuck alcohol from a friend’s parents liquor cabinet. I was only 16 when I started smoking marijuana, and eventually, I tried this little pain pill the doctors prescribed. I never thought I’d lose the honors classes, sports, friendships —my future —to heroin, but by 17 I had.

A Look Back at the Juvenile Justice System Before There Was Gault

The case is a half-century old this week, a landmark decision that merged jurisprudence, common sense and fortunate timing to reshape juvenile justice and give children many of the same due process rights long held by adults charged with crimes.

A New Season For Youth Justice Reform

Summer has begun, and while some kids will be enjoying their first taste of freedom, others will be doing anything but. On any given day, more than 54,000 youth in the U.S. are being held under lock and key in residential placement facilities. In New York alone, over 1,600 youth are in confinement. And in this current moment, a kid in prison in almost any other State would also be hundreds of miles away from their home. We have essentially taken the structure of the adult corrections system and slapped it on youth. 

Accountability, it's more than just a word

He wanted to apologize, but his lawyer said, "Absolutely not!" He wanted to admit that he did it and wanted to say how sorry he was, but his lawyer refused to allow him to say anything, let alone admit to any wrongdoing. He explained to Malik, a 15-year-old youth from the South Side of Chicago that he was to deny any knowledge of the incident. Malik was detained in the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center in Chicago and was being charged as an adult for robbery.

ACLU, allies vow to fight Maryland Gov. Hogan's proposals to get tough on crime

The Maryland ACLU and a coalition of allies came together Tuesday to urge defeat of Gov. Larry Hogan’s proposals to deal with crime in Maryland, calling them a throwback to failed policies of past decades.

Adam Sotak: Stop solitary confinement for kids

Regarding the May 26 news article “North Carolina prisons moving away from solitary confinement”: The N.C. Department of Public Safety should be applauded for its effort to phase out the inhumane practice of solitary confinement in state adult correctional facilities and for working with other state leaders and departments to help seek solutions to our state’s mental health crisis. Another unfortunate aspect of the solitary confinement issue is that since North Carolina automatically prosecutes 16- and 17-year-olds as adults, some children in both county jails and at Foothills Correctional Center in Morganton are subjected to this cruel and counterproductive practice, also sometimes for months at a time. 

Adult Prison Sentences Make No Sense for Children

All children and youth in the United States deserve the opportunity to develop their potential and pursue the American dream. But for too many young people who unnecessarily come in contact with our criminal justice system, these possibilities are stymied.

Advocates Pass Along Lessons Learned at Conference on Closing Youth Prisons

They arrived sharing the same goal of closing youth prisons, the same desire to address the racial and social disparities they see daily and the same belief that rehabilitating youth is always smarter and more moral than locking them away.

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