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Juvenile Justice News

Is it now inevitable that all states will raise the age?

This year, legislators in both New York and North Carolina took great steps towards improving public safety and providing meaningful rehabilitative services to young people across their states.

Is It Time To Raise The Juvenile Age In Massachusetts?

In 2013, Massachusetts raised the juvenile age from 17 to 18. Now, there is a growing movement to push it even higher.

Suffolk County Sheriff Steven Tompkins and Department of Youth Services Commissioner Peter Forbes, along with state legislators, prosecutors, judges, social workers and others, recently traveled to Germany to observe their juvenile justice system. They talk with us about what they saw on the trip and the challenges facing the juvenile justice system here in Massachusetts.

Is Juvenile Justice Beyond Repair?

The Youth First Initiative wants to help end the use of youth prisons. The justice-advocacy group works from the premise that detaining minors—whether in youth facilities or in prisons—is not just a poorly executed practice; it is simply beyond repair. “This model of incarceration is broken—it does not work,” says Liz Ryan, the president and CEO of the Youth First Initiative. “It actually has never worked.” 

Is New York City ready to implement Raise the Age?

With the mandated Oct. 1 deadline for the Raise the Age legislation looming, nonprofits, corrections officers, and city council members remain skeptical about the city’s ability to implement it.

Raise the Age legislation raises the age of criminal responsibility in New York state from 16 to 18 years of age. The legislation takes effect for 16-year-olds on Oct. 1, 2018, and for 17-year-olds on Oct. 1 2019. All youth must be removed from Rikers Island and transferred to age-appropriate housing and programming. The new facilities will be operated by either the state Office of Children and Family Services or New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services. But questions remain as to whether the city has properly prepared for the hand-off.

It's not going well for juveniles in First Judicial Circuit

In Florida more than 90 percent of the young people who are arrested have their cases handled in the juvenile court system, where education and rehabilitation are the focus. This is appropriate, as juveniles are more receptive to rehabilitation than adults. 

It’s Time for Different Strategies to Fight Racial Disparities

Those of us who have spent months and years working to make responses to youthful law violations effective, equitable and more just have much to be proud of. The volume of philanthropic investments working in sites directly, supporting research, advancing science, incentivizing advocacy and in some cases organizing have made a significant difference in youth justice practices.

There is no doubt that changes regarding objective decision-making, managing by data, introducing and understanding human development, strengthening legal representation, focusing on conditions of confinement and raising awareness about sexual orientation, gender identity and expression have resulted in documented improvements. All these improvement efforts have required persistence and a commitment to overcome deeply entrenched norms that drive the administration of justice.

It’s time to raise the age

Before we both had the honor of serving in the Legislature to craft the state’s laws, we worked to uphold those laws. In our roles as a defense attorney and a former police detective, we might not have seen eye to eye on matters of the law. And in roles as a Republican and a Democrat we may not see eye to eye on matters of policy. But when we do agree wholeheartedly on an issue it is all the more significant. 

One such issue is raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction from 17 to 18 years old.

It’s time to ‘Raise the Age’ in Missouri. It’s a matter of dollars and sense

The Missouri General Assembly is currently contemplating a bill colloquially known as Raise the Age. This bill would mean that criminal cases against youth who are under the age of 18 would begin in the juvenile court system. 17-year-olds charged with serious crimes could still be certified as adults. Raising the age to 18 would bring Missouri into line with all but four other states.

Jail fees pile up for Sonoma County juvenile offenders

The phone rings. Your teenage son has run away and gotten into a fight. Again. He’s back at Sonoma County’s juvenile hall off Highway 12 in rural east Santa Rosa. For the next several months, you attend meetings with his public defender, make his court appointments and visit him twice a week while working full time and shuttling your other children between school and sports.

Jailing Vulnerable Youth for Status Offenses Helps No One

In February, Senator Grassley (R-Iowa) and Senator Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) called upon the Senate to pass important juvenile justice reform by reauthorizing the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA). The JJDPA is the only piece of federal legislation that governs juvenile justice across the country, and provides critical funding and guidance for states.

JDAI Helped Preserve the Massachusetts Experiment Through the ’90s

A traveler approaching a village came upon an elderly man sitting at the base of a tree. The traveler asked, “Old man, can you tell me what kind of people live in this village?”

Jerry Brown wants to keep more youth in juvenile detention, not prison

Criminal and juvenile justice reform has been a key part of Gov. Jerry Brown's time in office, and his final proposed budget calls for keeping more youth offenders in juvenile detention facilities instead of prison.

John Legend Explains How This Bill Could Help Reform Youth Incarceration

Over the past two years, through my FREEAMERICA initiative, I have traveled the country meeting with and learning from those impacted by the criminal justice system. I have met with many youth — youth who may look like you, your loved ones, or classmates — who are being channeled into what we’ve taken to calling the “school-to-prison pipeline.” 

John Legend speaks out for juvenile justice bill

A bill on juvenile justice in the Ohio House received some support from one of the most famous people from Ohio Tuesday. Musician John Legend tweeted his support for a bill to stop minors from receiving life prison sentences.

Journey to Passion: Young Man Locked up at Rikers Helps Organizer to Close it

They stood on the steps of City Hall; faith leaders, community organizers, formerly incarcerated men and women. They stood behind Democratic state Sen. Brian Benjamin with banners in their hands. One read: “#closerikers.” Another: “Free New York.” Among them was 26-year-old Vidal Guzman, dressed in black except for, across his chest, “#closerikers build communities” in white and pink.

He listened as Benjamin spoke, and walked up to the microphone when his name was called.

A former inmate, Guzman first went to Rikers at 16.

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