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Juvenile Justice News

Prison for kids doesn’t work, and good alternatives are out there

Imagine a California without youth prisons because we don’t need them anymore. Young people would still make mistakes, some of them tragic. But instead of being taken from their families and schools, they would receive community-based counseling, mentoring, job training and opportunities that build on their strengths, enabling them to become productive adults.

Progress in Juvenile Justice: 2017

There has been no shortage of issues facing advocates of juvenile justice reform, the age at which offenders are tried as adults, the use of juvenile life without parole, racial disparities, and failures to provide adequate rehabilitation, education, and mental health resources foremost among them. Like many of the challenges facing the nation’s collective corrections system, such as overcrowding and sentencing disparities, these issues arose mostly in response to the “get tough on crime” political environment that emerged in the 1980s in response to rising crime rates and spreading drug-related violence. The pendulum has begun to swing back toward moderation, and in 2017 several state legislatures passed significant reforms to their juvenile justice systems.

Proposed budget cuts to Office of Juvenile Justice blasted

Louisiana State Senator J.P. Morrell published a blistering op-ed on February 1 criticizing proposed budget cuts to the state’s Office of Juvenile Justice (OJJ). “We can’t afford to give up on our kids,” Morrell wrote. “They depend on us, and we can’t let them down.”

Prosecution of Young People as Adults Defies Spirit of Supreme Court Ruling

Article by Marcy Mistrett, CFYJ CEO, on the Annie E. Casey Foundation Blog

Fifty years ago this month, the U.S. Supreme Court considered the rights of children prosecuted in the adult criminal justice system. In Kent v. United States, the Court determined whether a child had a right to be heard and, if so, the right to due process under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Read more.

Pulling Back on the Barbaric Use of Solitary Confinement

The Justice Department took a farsighted step last year when it banned the use of solitary confinement for young people in federal prisons. The decision — based on research showing that isolation promotes mental illness and self-harm — followed the widely publicized suicide of Kalief Browder, a young man who had been unjustly accused of a minor crime and sent to New York’s infamous Rikers Island jail complex, where he spent two traumatic years in solitary confinement.

Raise the Age bill nears final legislative passage

The Raise the Age Bill is moving closer to final legislative passage, as it has been approved by the House Criminal Justice Committee without objection. The measure would increase the age at which someone can be tried as an adult for nonviolent crimes from 17 to 18. Executive Director for the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights Joshua Perry supports the bill. He says a mistake at 17 shouldn't ruin someone’s life.

Raise the Age delay goes to full Louisiana Senate

Though four 17-year-olds recently have been raped in adult jails, a Louisiana Senate committee accepted arguments Tuesday that the state simply couldn’t afford to start the two-year-old law that would put offenders that age into juvenile facilities.

The Louisiana Senate Judiciary A Committee voted 4-2 to delay the “Raise the Age” Act, which was supposed to go into effect July 1. The first stage of the transition would involve nonviolent offenders.

Senate Bill 248 now goes to the full Senate, which overwhelming adopted Raise the Age in 2016. Raise the Age would stop treating 17-year-olds as adults, as 18-year-olds are, and instead adjudicate their offenses through the juvenile justice system.

Raise the age for juvenile court jurisdiction

This year, Missouri has the opportunity to join 45 other states and raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to 18. These are our children, our juniors and seniors in high school, looking with hopeful eyes to the future. These children are our future, and as Missourians, we should support Senate Bill 793 and House Bill 1255 for our families, our communities and our future.

Raise the age law a dilemma

The Fulton County Probation Department is working with other county agencies to learn about the state’s new “Raise the Age” laws involving arrested teens, which goes into effect this fall.

Probation Director Cynthia Licciardi briefed the Board of Supervisors’ Public Safety Committee Monday on the new law, noting the next meeting is Thursday at the Department of Social Services.

“We’ve been meeting since the first of the year,” Licciardi said. “It’s kind of just brainstorming. We do have different rules.”

Raise the age law comes with challenges

While barely one month into 2018, there already are myriad criminal justice system and court reforms ongoing throughout the state that are expected to have a quick impact.

Raise the age to get appropriate justice for all under 18

This month, New York passed among the nation’s strongest measures to “raise the age,” making it the 49th state to refrain from trying all 16-year-old criminal defendants as adults, and the 44th state to refrain from trying all 17-year-olds as adults, once the rollout is complete in 2020.

Raising the age for juvenile offenders provides second chances but could flood system

Soon, 16- and 17-year-olds who commit crimes in North Carolina won’t be tried as adults. Iisha Brown is proud that her daughter, Olivia, graduated high school and is at Central Piedmont Community College, despite having an adult criminal record.

Raising the age is conservative reform

In 2016, South Carolina passed consensus legislation to begin charging most 17-year-olds who get arrested in the family court system instead of the adult system.

The bill passed the General Assembly unanimously and earned the support of former Gov. Nikki Haley with the understanding that this is not a radical step. In fact, this legislation is in line with efforts across the nation. Most states have recognized that if 17-year-olds are considered minors to buy cigarettes or enlist in the military, it makes sense that the justice system be no different.

As a former prosecutor from the Manhattan DA’s office and the Director of the National Juvenile Justice Prosecution Center, I believe that this legislation makes sense on many different levels.

Regional Jail now meets federal and state standards for housing juveniles 

A large whiteboard hangs in Col. David Hackworth’s office at Hampton Roads Regional Jail. It’s filled with tasks the new superintendent wants to accomplish. Near the top of the list is a one-word reminder of one of the jail’s most pressing problems: juveniles. The living conditions of any inmates under the age of 18 is one of many issues the U.S. Department of Justice is looking at as part of its investigation into the jail following the deaths of Jamycheal Mitchell and Henry Stewart. 

Remembering Michael Brown: Police Don’t Create Safety

Today, we reflect on the memory of Mike Brown, the 18-year-old unarmed black teen fatally shot six times, twice in the head, by Ferguson, Mo. police officer Darren Wilson.

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