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Juvenile Justice News

OJJDP Administrator’s Words on Racial Disparities Shock Us

Standing before a room packed with youth, juvenile justice advocates, system practitioners, law enforcement officials and judges last week, Caren Harp, Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), made an announcement: OJJDP would be “simplifying” the implementation and compliance of the core protections of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA). As her remarks continued, it became clear that Harp’s simplification prioritizes public safety over racial justice. The administrator fails to understand that the two goals are intertwined.

Old, failed remedies won't reduce Baltimore crime

There is no denying that last year was a historically violent year in Baltimore. A shift in crime patterns meant that portions of the city not accustomed to high rates of crime saw increases in both crimes and arrests. The narrative around this increase in crime quickly focused on “out of control youth.” But the numbers tell a more complicated story.

On July 4th Eve, Jeff Sessions Quietly Rescinds a Bunch of Protections for Minorities 

On July 3, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the DOJ was “rescinding 24 guidance documents that were unnecessary, outdated, inconsistent with existing law, or otherwise improper.”

On “Vice,” a “Wire” Alum’s Thoughtful Study of Juvenile Mass Incarceration

Raised in the System,” the first episode of the new season of HBO’s news-magazine series “Vice,” provides an insightful look at juvenile mass incarceration in the United States, managing a tone that’s both grave and encouraging. Our guide is the actor and activist Michael K. Williams, who played Omar on “The Wire.” Williams grew up in the Vanderveer projects, in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, and has been visiting incarcerated loved ones since age seventeen. In 2014, when Williams was appointed the A.C.L.U. ambassador for ending mass incarceration, he told me about some relatives in the system; in the documentary, we meet his nephew Dominic, who at nineteen was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison for second-degree murder, and his cousin Niven, who entered the prison system at the age of fourteen. Felicia Pearson, who played Snoop on “The Wire,” talks about her experience, as a teen-ager, in a maximum-security prison for adults, and we meet youth mentors from Richmond, California, and a juvenile-court judge from Toledo, Ohio, who help at-risk teens and ex-offenders navigate their lives. If you happen to associate Vice with the kind of work that drew the Times media reporter David Carr’s scorn in the documentary “Page One,” from 2011, “Raised in the System” will come as a welcome surprise.

Once Rikers Island Took Kalief Browder’s Life, His Siblings Knew Their Mother Was Next

Ms. Venida Browder’s house collected sounds that cemented lifelong memories within its walls. In her Bronx abode, the matriarch raised seven children who would go on to keep the seams in tact in the fabric of family. Sounds of fun times passed through every nook of the two-floor house, but sounds of despair also found a space within her home.

One lawn at a time: D.C. seniors get help from juvenile offenders headed home

Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) helped mow 81-year-old Evelyn Young’s lawn Saturday to raise awareness about a new city program in which youths reentering society after time in the juvenile justice system provide lawn-care services for senior citizens.

Oops, We Took 20 Years of Your Life by Mistake. Have a Nice Day.

The recent and tragic suicide of my friend and fellow exoneree Darryl Hunt is a stark reminder that no monetary compensation can make up for the psychological toll of wrongful conviction. When a wrongfully convicted person is released from prison, it’s often to a throng of reporters clamoring to capture images of an emotional reunion with his smiling family and friends, and lawyers. These images instill a sense of vindication and a happy ending. But what is too often unseen is how difficult it is to re-enter society after years or decades of confinement -- especially if you are innocent. These are the unseen scars, and too many states pay them inadequate attention, or none at all.

Op-Ed: Our Work To Reform The Juvenile Justice System Is Not Yet Complete

Over the last few years, evidence-based reforms at the local, state, and national level have endeavored to reverse some of the harmful laws and policies that emerged during the tough-on-crime decades.

Opinion | Juvenile justice that restores families

Guiding and protecting young people is one of our most morally significant obligations as a society. That’s precisely the goal of the juvenile justice system. Understanding that young people make mistakes, we seek to hold them accountable while offering a chance for transformation.

Opinion | Tennessee wise to revise 'safekeeping' law

Sixteen-year-old T.W. of Shelby County, a client of ACLU-TN and other local partners, was held in solitary confinement for six months while awaiting trial due to Tennessee’s ironically-named "safekeeping" statute.

This law is used to remove certain pretrial detainees — including pregnant women, people with illnesses or mental health issues, and even young people like T.W. — from local jails and to send them to state prison and other facilities if the local jail is deemed "insufficient" to house them.

Opinion: Juvenile justice reform will give judges options to help young people change course

Seventeen-year-old Malcolm had a hair-trigger temper. Simple teenaged disagreements with his mother and sister turned into verbal — and often physical — assault. After police were called to his home several times, the young man was arrested for domestic violence. He spent two days in detention, then went before a judge in an emergency court hearing.

Oregon Incarcerates Youth At Higher Rate Than Most States

Oregon incarcerates young people at a higher rate than almost any other state, according to a new report from the Oregon Council on Civil Rights.

Our Criminal Courts Are Failing Juvenile Defendants

Getting in trouble and getting punished is a natural part of adolescence. But for some teens the punishment is worse than the crime, executed not by a stern parent but by a county judge who leaves them defenseless.

Our Opinion: Raise the Age — It's the right thing to do

We commend the Missouri Senate for recently voting 31-0 on a bill that would raise the age of teens covered by the juvenile system to 18. Currently, state law states those 17 or older and accused of a crime must be handled in the adult criminal justice system.

Our View: Raise legal age for adult status

If your 17-year-old is convicted of a crime — any crime — he or she will be tried as an adult. That means that if jail time is a consequence of the crime, that time would likely be served in a jail or prison with other adults.

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