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Juvenile Justice News

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.

Some experts say young offenders need discipline, not detention

North Carolina schools, which now refer more than 40 percent of all offenders in the state’s juvenile justice system, need to stop arresting and charging kids for minor, nonviolent offenses, state court and public safety leaders say.

Harsh, aimless punishment only pushes delinquent students further into patterns leading to adult crime, said Judge Julius Corpening, chief judge for North Carolina’s 5th Judicial District. A judge for 27 years, Corpening has seen many kids with troubled home lives and mental health issues — most of whom need discipline, not detention, he said.

Some States Still Send Teens to Adult Prison

In most states, 18 is the age when you are seen as an adult in the eyes of the law, for better or for worse. Sometimes it’s good, like when you want to get a tattoo and not have your parents sign for it. But breaking the law means you could be arrested and summoned to appear in criminal court, where your newly minted adulthood might mean a harsher punishment. Yet in a handful of states you’re considered an adult in the justice system even before you turn 18.

South Carolina Close to Raising Age for Juvenile Offenders to 17

South Carolina is poised to join the majority of states that keep teenagers in the juvenile justice system until their 18th birthday. Senate lawmakers approved “raise the age” legislation (SB 916) late Tuesday that would increase the upper age of juvenile jurisdiction from 16 to 17 for most young offenders. All but nine states already consider teenagers juveniles until they turn 18. 

SOUTH CAROLINA: SC Juvenile Justice Agency Was Warned Against Post-Riot Transfers

The scandal-scarred S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice (SCDJJ) and its director, Sylvia Murray, were explicitly warned against transferring juvenile inmates to adult prisons in the aftermath of a dramatic escalation of violence at SCDJJ facilities.They didn’t listen…The outbursts of violence – which included a late February riot reported on exclusively by this website – have prompted multiple legislative investigations (and a sadly predictable response from governor Nikki Haley, whose administration oversees SCDJJ).

South Dakota: Governor backs bill for fewer juveniles in lockup (Argus Leader)

Gov. Dennis Daugaard is backing a bill to overhaul the state's juvenile corrections system. The bill, which also has the support of state Supreme Court Chief Justice David Gilbertson, would force a focus on diversion programs as a way to keep youth out of expensive placements with the Department of Corrections.

Stand up against failed policies: The youth prison

We often hear of the exceptional nature of the justice system in the United States. Indeed, our Constitution is meant to ensure that the rule of law holds sway above all else. As such, we are committed to treating our people fairly – without consideration of their age, gender, race, or religion. While our founding document has not always protected the most vulnerable among us, it has – over time – come to be the safeguard against the worst forms of abuse by government. 

State Attorney expands Hillsborough juvenile civil citation program

First-time offenders who commit certain minor crimes as juveniles in Hillsborough County may avoid a criminal conviction by completing a civil citation program, starting Aug. 1.

Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren announced an agreement Thursday between law enforcement agencies and the courts, which expands the use of civil citations.

State law hamstrings peace-keeping efforts in juvenile detention center, Cuyahoga County officials say

Teenagers housed in Cuyahoga County's old juvenile detention center decades ago used to be able to sit by a fireplace, learn how to use metal dinner utensils and, as recently as the late 1990s, cut each other's hair with scissors in an in-house barbershop, Judge Kristin Sweeney said.

State Senators Call for Major Reform of Juvenile Justice System

A package of legislation introduced Monday by a pair of California state senators could do away with incarceration for children under 12 years old and ban life sentences without parole for anyone under 18.

State to test youth-offender project targeting mental health, recidivism

Arkansas is a test site for a national pilot project aimed at helping children overcome barriers they face after getting out of jail.

State Trends Show Fewer Young People Tried As Adults, New Report Says

The number of young people locked into adult jails and prisons has plummeted nearly two-thirds since 2009 and the number automatically sent to adult courts for criminal trials has fallen by nearly half from 2007 to 2014, a new report says.

State's Teen Criminal Cases Belong in Juvenile Court

In July 2012, Connecticut “raised the age” of juvenile jurisdiction, joining the vast majority of the country in bringing 17-year-olds under the jurisdiction of juvenile court. In 2015, Connecticut raised the minimum age at which a child could be transferred to adult court—either automatically by being charged with certain offenses or at the discretion of the trial court at the request of a prosecutor—from 14 to 15. A new proposal this year—Raised Bill 187—seeks to undo this commonsense legislation.

States May Face Stricter Standards to Prove They Are Protecting Kids in Custody

States soon may face stricter rules in order to demonstrate they are protecting juveniles in custody. Federal officials have proposed new compliance standards for states to show they keep juveniles out of adult facilities; ensure that when juveniles must be in such facilities, they are separated from adult inmates; and do not lock up status offenders.

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