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Juvenile Justice News

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. 

A state takes novel steps to rehabilitate young criminals

Vermont is hoping to place fewer young adults in the adult criminal justice system using a first-in-the-nation law that will place some teenagers 18 and older in the juvenile justice system. A law signed by former Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin in 2016 took effect July 1 and allows anyone 21 or younger charged with a nonviolent crime to be eligible for juvenile offender status. In May, a bill was signed into law by current GOP Gov. Phil Scott that will begin placing those under the age of 19 in the juvenile justice system by 2020, and raise the age again to those under 20 in 2022.

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. 

Administration Confirms Nearly 200 Job Cuts at Agency that Handles Juvenile Justice

The Justice Department has told Youth Services Insider that the Office of Justice Programs will reduce the Office of Justice Programs’ workforce by nearly 200 positions by October of 2019, a move that could sap staff from the already-small division focused on federal juvenile justice policy.

The Chronicle of Social Change was told by sources within the Justice Department that the full agency could see thousands of positions eliminated. OJP spokesman James Goodwin told Youth Services Insider that OJP has “been directed by the Department to reduce its workforce by 177 positions from the position ceiling of 711 by the end of Fiscal Year 2019” as part of an effort to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the federal government.

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 once praised Bill Haslam's juvenile justice bill. Now they say it's watered down.

Lawmakers overwhelmingly support Gov. Bill Haslam's plan to overhaul the juvenile justice system, but reform advocates who cheered the measure in February now say it was blunted by legislative dealmaking.

Haslam's initial plan, one of his top legislative priorities for the year, would have placed strict limits on a judge's ability to put a child into state custody for low-level or nonviolent offenses, including missing school. But blowback from some judges drove alterations to the plan that would preserve their ability to make case-by-case decisions on detention.

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.

Advocates Pushing to Get Juvenile Justice Reauthorization Finalized

The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act is considered a landmark piece of legislation for protecting basic levels of humane treatment for youths caught up in the criminal justice system. A bill to update the law—which has been kept in effect only through continuing resolutions for the past decade—passed the House easily and has widespread support in the Senate, though procedural technicalities are standing in the way of final passage.

After A Decade Of Abuse Allegations, Texas Juvenile Justice Agency Considers Slate Of Reforms

Amid allegations of physical and sexual abuse of minors in the state’s juvenile lockups, the scandal-rocked Texas Juvenile Justice Department has had a massive leadership shakeup in recent months. Gov. Greg Abbott has demanded to see an action plan to address how kids at state lockups are treated – and now the head of the Juvenile Justice Department has submitted one.

Mike Ward of the Houston Chronicle says the recent stories of abuse in juvenile lockups are part of a much longer story.

After Noblesville school shooting, juvenile waiver a hot topic

May 25 was a day that rocked a central Indiana community to its core. A 13-year-old student allegedly opened fire at Noblesville West Middle School, injuring a science teacher and a fellow 13-year-old classmate.

Alabama House passes juvenile justice reform bill

Alabama lawmakers are one step closer to overhauling the state’s juvenile justice system after the House passed a bill aimed at keeping low-level offenders out of detention. Thursday’s vote was 69-20 after more than three hours of heated debate and multiple amendments.

Alabama legislation seek changes to juvenile justice

Alabama lawmakers this session will consider an overhaul of the state's juvenile justice system, which advocates contend locks up too many kids for low-level offenses.

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