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Juvenile Justice News

States Must Move Funding from Correctional Facilities to Community-Based Treatment

Across the United States, juvenile arrest rates have reached 40-year lows, dropping precipitously over the past 20 years. From its peak in 1996 to the most recent national data available for 2014, the U.S. juvenile arrest rate has fallen by 65 percent overall, and 63 percent for violent felony arrests.

States See Clear Benefits to Keeping Youth Out of the Adult Criminal Justice System

Within the last decade, seven states have passed laws to raise the age on juvenile justice jurisdiction. This move means that 16- and 17-year-olds who were previously destined for adult criminal court are now being served by the juvenile justice system.

States see marked drop in juvenile prison populations as reforms take hold (Washington Post)

A falling crime rate and new reforms to the way juveniles are treated by the criminal justice system have dramatically cut the number of young people in state prisons, according to a new report that highlights the success of some of those reforms. The report, published by the Council of State Governments Justice Center, focuses on Texas, where a series of reforms passed by the legislature beginning in 2007 have helped keep thousands of juvenile offenders closer to home.

States Show Some Progress 2 Years After Kalief Browder’s Death

Today, June 6, 2017, marks the two-year anniversary of the devastating loss of Kalief Browder. Kalief was a 22-year-old whose traumatic and deeply unjust contact with the adult criminal justice system when he was only 16 changed the course of his life forever.

States soften stance on adult prosecution of juvenile offenders

Several states that automatically prosecute accused offenders as adults beginning at age 17 year are considering raising the age to 18. Louisiana and South Carolina are both considering bills to raise the age, the New York Times reports. The proposals are backed by a national “raise the age” movement that stresses neurological differences in young people’s brains and the greater possibility of rehabilitation for youths sent to juvenile facilities.

Stoneman Douglas Shooter Was Assigned To Controversial Broward Discipline Program, Officials Now Say

Broward school district officials admitted Sunday that the confessed Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School gunman was assigned to a controversial disciplinary program, after the superintendent repeatedly claimed Nikolas Cruz had "no connection" to the alternative punishment designed to limit on-campus arrests.

Two sources with knowledge of Cruz’s discipline records told WLRN he was referred to the so-called PROMISE Program for a three-day stint after committing vandalism at Westglades Middle School in 2013.

Stop charging children as adults

People under the age of 18 cannot legally buy a beer in this country, or enlist in the military (without parental consent), vote in an election, buy a handgun or enter into a contract. But in some states, they can be charged with a crime as adults and, if convicted, sent to an adult prison. 

Stop Solitary for Kids

Every day in the United States, some 54,000 young people are incarcerated in the juvenile justice system. Many experience the harsh realities of solitary confinement during their imprisonment, often for minor rule violations. Research and experience reveal the impact of solitary on young people to be devastating, including trauma, psychological damage, depression, anxiety, and increased risk of suicide. Often, youth in solitary do not receive appropriate education, mental health services, or drug treatment. Because adolescents are still developing, solitary confinement can cause permanent harm to their physical, psychological, and social well-being. More than half of all suicides in juvenile facilities occur while young people are held in solitary. Many youth literally go mad in such conditions. 

Study Finds 'Significant' Increase in State Juvenile Justice Reform

At least 36 states have passed legislation to keep young people out of adult prisons or jails since 2005—and more states are on track to limit youth exposure to the adult justice system over the next two years, according to a study released Wednesday.

Study: Juveniles more likely to re-offend if mother doesn't understand legal process

Juvenile first-time offenders whose mothers don't get involved in their legal proceedings are much more likely to commit another crime, according to a new study. The study from Michigan State University looked at the cases of more than 300 male juvenile first-time offenders aged 13 to 17. Since juvenile offenders often don't have a present father in their lives, researchers chose to focus on offenders with female primary guardians.

Study: LGBT Youth are Disproportionately in Jail

A disproportionate number of queer youth, particular lesbians and bisexual girls, end up in jail or prison in the United States, according to a study released today by researchers at UCLA. Worse, those youth are considerably more likely to be raped during their time in custody.

Suit: Jail keeps teens in solitary for months without care, education

One young inmate in solitary confinement at the Palm Beach County jail hallucinated, staring at the blank wall of his cell, thinking he was watching a television show, a federal lawsuit filed Thursday alleges. Other juveniles begged deputies for water but were forced to drink the putrid discolored water from the sink attached to their toilet. “I’m not your water boy,” the deputies barked back. If these teens — in isolation for sometimes up to 16 consecutive months — complained, deputies threatened to send them to the mental health ward where they would be stripped naked and left in a freezing cell with only a paper gown that failed to cover their backside. These are just some of the claims made in the class-action lawsuit against Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, the Palm Beach County School Board and others in the sheriff’s department that calls for an end to solitary confinement for inmates under age 18.

Take Care of Our Youth

According to the Sentencing Project, the United States is the world’s leader in incarceration with 2.2 million people currently in prison or jail. Prison overcrowding is a significant problem, and results in youth being assigned to adult prisons and jails to serve their sentences. North Carolina, Connecticut and New York are just some states that are addressing this issue.

Task force hopes to save $34 million with overhaul of juvenile justice system

Several leaders on Alabama's Juvenile Justice Task Force spoke Wednesday about their goals for the legislative session, which included a push for changes to how rural counties handle juvenile offenders.

Tennessee governor announces juvenile justice, college bills

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has introduced bills to introduce credit-hour requirements for scholarships at higher education institutions, reform the juvenile justice system and shrink the University of Tennessee's board.

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