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Juvenile Justice News

Will Presidential Candidates Oppose Prosecuting Children As Adults?

As physicians, we are often on the front lines of tragedies such as those in Louisiana, Minnesota and Texas recently and in Florida in June. During these troubling times and two contentious national conventions, we are beginning to wonder what changes are in store for our profession and our patients.

With new law on the books, Louisiana courts prepare to re-sentence hundreds of juvenile murderers

After spending a half-century serving life without parole for a murder committed as a teenager, Henry Montgomery is now preparing for a parole hearing, a shot at freedom capping years of litigation over a case that stretched from a Baton Rouge district courtroom to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declared his automatic life without parole sentence unconstitutional.

Women pedal across state on Journey for Justice

Tracy McClard and her mother, Vicky Moses, made it to Jefferson City on the Katy Trail by midday Wednesday. They were almost halfway through a 200-mile bike ride. Their family was waiting for them at the trailhead, but an important member was absent: McClard’s youngest son. He’s the reason the two women are riding. Tracy and her 72-year-old mother are cycling from Sedalia to St. Charles in four days on their Journey for Justice across Missouri. The women aim to raise awareness about minors placed in the adult criminal justice system. McClard, creator of the Missouri group Families and Friends Organizing for Reform of Juvenile Justice (FORJ-MO), began to champion this cause after she lost her teenage son. More here

Working to Bring Juvenile Justice Reform to Illinois

Those who fight for the rights of Illinois' young people are being honored at an event next week. The Juvenile Justice Initiative will hold a celebration Oct. 5 to highlight progress in the state and those who have helped accomplish it. 

Your Child’s Been Sent to Jail. And Then Comes the Bill

In dozens of one-on-one meetings every week, a lawyer retained by the city of Philadelphia summons parents whose children have just been jailed, pulls out his calculator and hands them more bad news: a bill for their kids’ incarceration.

Youth advocate Jim St. Germain: “There are a lot of kids out there hurting”

Jim St. Germain came to America from Haiti at the tender age of 10. Like many young immigrants, he thought the streets would be paved with gold and opportunities were abundant; however, he discovered the opposite. St. Germain’s family struggled to make money early on. Some of those struggles poured over into his neighborhood and affected his schoolwork.

Youth incarceration comes to the North Country

New York state is spending over $50 million to repurpose two prisons in the North Country so they can incarcerate just over 250 teenagers in these specially designed ‘youth’ prisons. The recent passage of the state’s law to raise the age of criminal responsibility for some teenagers created a provision for the Department of Corrections and Community Services to create ‘youth friendly’ prisons which are informed by developmentally-appropriate services and interventions. While the passage of the law to raise the age of criminal responsibility was an important step forward, and the construction of these facilities represents a clear acknowledgement that teenagers are inherently different than adults, the impact that the passage of this law has on the North Country should be interrogated.

Youth Incarceration in the United States, by the Numbers

On any given night in the United States in 2015, 47,000 youths were incarcerated and 69% were youths of color. Of that same 47,000, 73% were in for nonviolent offenses. And about 1,000 were held in adult prisons.

Youth Zone Corner: Find the ‘why’ of troubling youth behavior

Psychological trauma — words that no one likes to hear, especially when these words coincide with some of our community's most vulnerable: children and teenagers. There is no doubt that psychological trauma is a hard topic of discussion, but it is an important one because it drastically affects a large number of our youth.

‘Every Youth Prison in the Country Should Be Closed’

The nearly two-centuries-old approach in America to institutionalizing and detaining young people who run afoul of the law must be replaced by a system that takes into account the different developmental needs of youth—and the interests of society in making sure they aren’t channeled into a lifetime of criminal behavior, says a paper sponsored by the Harvard Kennedy School and the National Institute of Justice.

‘Raise the Age’ Is the New ‘Ban the Box’

Thousands of 16- and 17-year-olds across the country are poised to benefit from criminal justice reform’s latest bipartisan effort. Of the nine remaining states that automatically try 17-year-olds in the adult criminal justice system (two of them deem 16-year-olds "adults" for the purpose of prosecution), legislation pending in seven of the states would shift those cases into the juvenile system, where penalties are lesser, detention facilities less harsh, and opportunities for rehabilitation greater. 

‘Raise the Age’ program may not move teens from Rikers by deadline: investigation

An exclusive PIX11 investigation found several unanswered questions around New York City’s plans to move 16 and 17-year-olds from Rikers Island. In 2017, Governor Andrew Coumo championed the passage of new criminal justice legislation, Raise the Age. Under the new law, New York City is required to remove 16 and 17-year-olds from Rikers by October 1. However, several sources with knowledge of the city’s plans say they will likely miss the deadline.

‘This Is Wrong’: The Hurdles Keeping Sexual Assault Survivors Behind Bars From Services

Jessica Seipel still remembers how intimidated she was the first time she entered a prison. “You go through a door and hear it slam behind you,” she told Rewire. “Then you go through another door and you hear that slam behind you.”

“Raise the Age” Laws are Smart for All Involved

Incarcerating juveniles in adult prison facilities was banned in 2002 with the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. The act was intended to protect juveniles and now only in very limited circumstances can they still be jailed in adult prisons.

“They Call Us Monsters”: teenage boys facing life in prison become screenwriters

Juan Gamez has close-cropped, black hair and a baby face that remains expressionless except when he smiles. As a 16-year-old boy facing 90 years to life for first-degree murder, he seems to float somewhere above or below this fact, as do Antonio Hernandez and Jarad Nava, the other teenage boys awaiting similar sentences in Ben Lear’s moving documentary, “They Call Us Monsters,” a film that connects a 20-week screenwriting class inside Sylmar, a segregated unit for juveniles being tried as adults, with the passing of SB 260, legislation that grants youth serving life sentences the possibility of parole. 

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