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Juvenile Justice News

Tennessee Governor Proposes Juvenile Justice Reform

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) is pushing legislation that would make several changes to the state’s juvenile justice policies and spending plans, including limitations on the use of detention and increased resources for rural parts of the state.

TENNESSEE: Criminal justice reform advocates troubled about juvenile court reports

Criminal justice reform advocates responded with concern Thursday following reports that detention at Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County became more dangerous after Shelby County Sheriff Bill Oldham took over detention operations on July 1.
Reports released Wednesday showed an increase in suicidal behavior, use of force, assaults on youth by each other and staff reporting they fear for their safety.

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Texas, Missouri Debate Next Step on Raise the Age

Brett Merfish had a list of reasons why Texas should raise the age of criminal responsibility to 18. She pointed to research showing that states that had already adopted the practice saw crime and recidivism reduced and better outcomes for the juveniles and their families.

TEXAS: Harris County faces space issues to protect teen inmates

Harris County has had problems complying with a law meant to protect youthful offenders and reduce sexual assaults in jail. The Houston Chronicle (http://bit.ly/29qPAVn) reported Tuesday that 17-year-olds at the county jail in Houston, when prosecuted as adults, have no place to go while awaiting trial.

TEXAS: The Texas Way on Juvenile Justice (New York Times)

Texas has made huge strides in reforming its once hellish juvenile justice system. Young offenders in state facilities were once subjected to brutality, neglect and sexual abuse. But after revelations of those conditions led to a public outcry in 2007, elected officials moved quickly to make sure that troubled young people were more likely to find the services they needed - and to keep as many young people as possible from entering state facilities in the first place. As important, the state now has the data to prove that it has made progress and to point to where it might make more. 

The 14-Year-Old Who Grew Up in Prison

No crime story fulfills our need for justice without a corresponding punishment. That's how wrongs are righted in our moral imaginations. But if the crime and punishment aren't balanced, we're left waiting for an equilibrium that never comes. This is one of those stories.

The Battle Against Prisons for Kids

 For as long as youth prisons have existed in the United States, so too has the pretense that there are no youth prisons. Early 19th century reformers who sought to remove children from the harsh adult penal system established new institutions specifically for the detention of youths. They didn’t call them prisons, but Houses of Refuge, dedicated to the discipline and reform of newly coined group, “juvenile delinquents.” Founded with ostensibly laudable intent, the institutions were overcrowded fortresses, riddled with abuse, serving to institutionalize strict social control over poor and immigrant communities. That is, they were prisons.

The Curse of Custody: Enduring Incarceration

Karma arrives abruptly when locked in a court school classroom. Not the usual lock-in. No way out. Twenty students. Twenty pencils. Twenty hearts with rage. No available intervention for a scuffle. 

The death of a Baltimore County police officer is terrible, but it's not reason to question the idea of the juvenile justice system

There’s plenty of reason to question the series of decisions by the justice system that allowed 16-year-old Dawnta Harris to be in Perry Hall Monday when police say he drove a stolen Jeep into Baltimore County Police Officer Amy Caprio, fatally injuring her. We are still learning more details about his history, but it isn’t merely the benefit of hindsight that leads to the conclusion that he should not have been on home detention — or, as it turned out, AWOL from it — on the day of Officer Caprio’s death. That said, we should resist the urge to use this case to call the whole concept of the juvenile justice system into question.

The Double Jeopardy of Juvenile Detention  

Youth who have served time in the juvenile justice system face a double punishment: not only do they serve their sentence, but they are also less likely to graduate from high school or go to college because of that sentence. Each year in the US, approximately 100,000 young people are released from private, state, and locally-run juvenile correctional facilities, group homes, or, in some cases, adult prisons and jails.

The Hardest Lesson on Tier 2C 

It was Juron’s second day in the New Orleans jail and he was bewildered. At 17 years old, he had been arrested for the first time and charged as an adult for allegedly taking a woman’s cell phone during an argument and firing a gun into the air, which he denied. His mother couldn’t afford bail, so he would be locked up for months until a trial, sleeping on a hard slab. If he was convicted — a possibility he could barely acknowledge — he faced 15 to 104 years in state prison.

The impact of silence: The incarceration of children who have committed no crime

=Congress has recessed for the summer without passing any justice reform—not in the criminal nor juvenile justice arenas.  Neither the Sentencing & Corrections Reform Act (SCRA), nor the Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA)—both bills with bipartisan support—were able to be passed into law before the long summer recess. 

The Justice System Continues to Fail Black Boys

As we begin another Black History Month, it is time to celebrate the contributions and history of African Americans in this country.  Along with the celebration of progress, it’s also a time to reflect on areas for improvement. How young Black boys are treated in the criminal justice system is one of those areas. 

The Justice System Continues to Fail Black Boys

As we begin another Black History Month, it is time to celebrate the contributions and history of African Americans in this country. Along with the celebration of progress, it’s also a time to reflect on areas for improvement. How young black boys are treated in the criminal justice system is one of those areas. 

The Latest: Florida School District Defends Diversion Plan

The Latest on the investigation into the school shooting at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (all times local):

3:15 p.m.

An official of the school district where the Florida school massacre happened has told an investigative commission that a controversial diversion program for problem students is a success.

Broward County schools administrator Michaelle Pope told the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission on Thursday that the district's Promise program has reduced campus crime.

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