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Juvenile Justice News

Report Finds Racial Disparity in Youth Confinement

Black boys make up nearly half of all male juveniles in confinement despite the fact that less than 14 percent of minors in the U.S. are black, according to a report from a Massachusetts-based prison reform advocacy group.

Report Says Costs and Juvenile Crime are Down in Some States Trying 17-Year-Olds as Juveniles

Three states that have led a trend toward once again trying 16- and 17-year-olds as juveniles have seen falling juvenile crime and stable costs. That’s a major finding of the Justice Policy Institute’s report, “Raising the Age: Shifting to a Safer and More Effective Juvenile Justice System,” according to the organization’s press release. The report, released March 7, looks at the results of “raising the age” in seven states that have done that in the past 10 years: Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Report: State should reduce juvenile jail population

Money used to lock youths in juvenile jails would be better spent on programs to divert them from the negative consequences of even brief times behind bars, according to a new report on Illinois juvenile facilities.

Illinois should change its practices that encourage detention of youths and fund alternatives to what should be a last resort for children accused of delinquency, concluded a report released this week by the Juvenile Justice Initiative.

Rikers Doesn't Put Teens in Solitary. Other New York Jails Do.

When the police approached Imani and her friends outside a Syracuse, N.Y., dollar store in 2016, she wasn’t worried — she didn’t believe they had done anything wrong. But a clerk at the store had accused the group of stealing, and Imani, then 16 years old, was arrested and charged with robbery. Unable to afford bail, she waited for her day in court in a maximum-security adult jail.

Ringing the Bell on Kids Charged as Adults

ohnnie McDaniels, executive director of Henley-Young Juvenile Justice Center, often repeats a Frederick Douglass quote.
"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men," Douglas wrote in 1855.

Roberta Richman: Life-without-parole for teens is unjust

The Rhode Island Senate took a critical step toward implementing age-appropriate accountability for children in the criminal justice system when it passed S-237 last week. The House should pass this legislation, or its companion bill, H-5183, both of which would provide a parole hearing for everyone sentenced as a youth under 18.

School-to-Prison Pipeline Can Be Dismantled Using Alternative Discipline Strategies

 The school-to-prison pipeline refers to the streamlining of at-risk students from schools to incarceration or related correctional-type facilities that results from punitive discipline practices and criminalizing misconduct in schools.

Senator Tom Cotton Wants to Keep Kids in Jail

The Arkansas senator is on track to single-handedly block a bill that would have stopped law enforcement from throwing children in prison for minor offenses. It should get our attention when a lone senator stops a popular piece of bipartisan legislation, blocking passage and opposing the prevailing opinion even in his own party. That’s what Republican Senator Tom Cotton, a rising star in the GOP, has done and in a few weeks he’ll have successfully killed the much needed and long overdue reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974. The law, which expired in 2007, banned states receiving federal money from jailing juveniles in correctional facilities where they would be in contact with adults convicted of criminal charges. 

Session’s Hardline Stance on Youth Incarceration at Odds with Public’s View

Last week, the new top lawman of the United States promised to forge an era of hardline “law and order” around the country, even as Americans across party lines support very different, less punitive approaches to questions of justice and young people, according to a new study.

Several States Look to Keep Teenagers Out of Criminal Court

This year, several states have passed or are considering reforms that aim to reduce the number of teenagers charged in adult criminal court. Some of the most aggressive changes focus on limiting prosecutors’ authority to charge juveniles in adult court without a judicial hearing — a process known as direct file. 

Should children who commit a crime be given a second chance or die in prison?

Justice in the American system often means banishment through incarceration, parole, probation, or the sex offender registry. Millions are condemned, never to return to our communities, or never to return whole. And for those who do return, we make sure the mark of their worst mistake follows - most just a Google search or background check away from never hearing back from a prospective landlord or employer.

Those who commit crimes as children are not immune from this monstrous system of state control. And like the rest of our criminal justice system, children of color bear the brunt of extreme sentences, despite the fact that black and white children commit most offenses at similar rates.

But the tide is turning. Slowly.

Should Philly keep holding kids in its adult jails?

David Harrington spent time in both adult and juvenile detention centers when he was 17.

Should ZIP Codes determine juvenile arrest records? Florida Senate doesn’t think so

When a juvenile gets caught shoplifting or trespassing or smoking marijuana in Florida, what happens next depends on their ZIP Code. In some parts of the state, the child is automatically put into a program that diverts first-time offenders from arrest so they can avoid a criminal record that could follow them the rest of their lives. In other areas, however, they face arrest — and a record.

Sixteen-year-old with autism gets three years’ probation

 Because of a year’s difference in their ages, two teens were treated differently after lodging false bomb threats at their school.

Solitary Confinement Is What Destroyed My Son, Grieving Mom Says

This week, an unusual coalition of corrections officers and policy experts will come together in Washington, D.C., with one common goal in mind — to limit the use of solitary confinement for juveniles. The campaign has enlisted some powerful voices to warn about the harms of isolation for young people. Venida Browder lost her son twice: first to the lock-up at Rikers Island in New York, and then to suicide.

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