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Juvenile Justice News

Incarcerated Youth Not Free Even After Their Release

At our country’s 240th birthday, I am reminded of our forefathers’ preamble to the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” 

Incarceration in Youth Linked to Diminished Health Later in Life

In a study published in the Journal Pediatrics, researchers say there's a strong association between juvenile detention and diminished physical and mental health later on in life.

INDIANA: Jailing Princola: A hopeless ending for a mentally ill teenager

The screaming had stopped long before Princola Shields was found hanging lifelessly inside an Indiana Women’s Prison shower. She’d been crying out from her locked bathroom stall for hours, several inmates told IndyStar, begging nearby officers to tell her what she’d done wrong. Only three weeks remained on her prison sentence, but officers moved her into temporary confinement after, inmates said, an argument in the chow hall. Before entering her new cell, however, she was placed in a stall no bigger than a hallway closet. She was left there alone for three hours, inmates said. 

Introducing Fight for Our Girls

Article by the Center for the Study of Social Policy

Through this series, Fight for Our Girls, the Center for the Study of Social Policy’s Alliance for Racial Equity in Child Welfare seeks to radically shift the narrative surrounding girls of color and status offenses from a focus on delinquency and misbehavior to structural discrimination, trauma and youth well-being. Released over the next year, the series of briefs will promote programs, policies and initiatives aimed at developing a trauma-informed approach to addressing status offenses and supporting the ability of girls of color to thrive. 

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Is Juvenile Justice Beyond Repair?

The Youth First Initiative wants to help end the use of youth prisons. The justice-advocacy group works from the premise that detaining minors—whether in youth facilities or in prisons—is not just a poorly executed practice; it is simply beyond repair. “This model of incarceration is broken—it does not work,” says Liz Ryan, the president and CEO of the Youth First Initiative. “It actually has never worked.” 

Jailing Vulnerable Youth for Status Offenses Helps No One

In February, Senator Grassley (R-Iowa) and Senator Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) called upon the Senate to pass important juvenile justice reform by reauthorizing the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA). The JJDPA is the only piece of federal legislation that governs juvenile justice across the country, and provides critical funding and guidance for states.

Juvenile justice summit: ‘We are addicted to incarceration’

James Bell, who works nationally to address racial disparities in juvenile justice, described incarceration as an addiction Thursday to an audience of more than 200 people in Hickory Hill. "We are addicted to incarceration as a primary instrument of social control," Bell said. "Not just for law violators but for misbehaviors in school." 

Lee High School class gains national recognition for efforts in youth advocacy

A group of young men at Lee High School is gaining national recognition for its advocacy around youth and juvenile justice issues. The class, which calls itself The Evac Movement, learned Tuesday it was the winner of the Campaign for Youth Justice’s social media campaign asking what change they want to see in youth justice. 

Legalized Torture: A Solitary Confinement Experience

As a young African-American, it is not anomalous to hear your professor or guest speaker tell you that more likely than not, you are going to end up imprisoned and disenfranchised at some point in your life — if not for the rest of your life. This is a future I would not wish upon anyone. Unfortunately, the educators are not misinformed. And of those persons imprisoned, between 80,000 and 100,000 U.S. inmates were placed in some form of solitary confinement in 2014.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Teenage brains not mature

Regarding your May 16 article, “DA: Prison for youth depends on the crime, 17 is ‘reasonable age.’” Floyd County District Attorney Leigh Patterson is erroneous in her presumptions that teenagers have the same decision-making process as adults, and therefore should be treated as such.

Locked Up for the Holidays

The “most wonderful time of the year” may be the hardest for tens of thousands of young people locked up for the holidays. But many states try — within the confines of security rules, budgets and protocols — to make the season a little brighter for youthful offenders, who often are housed far from home. 

Locked Up: What Is A Youth Prison?

For a young person who experiences life behind the walls of a youth prison, it can mean many things. We’re using the mnemonic, “locked up” to show some of these key characteristics of a youth prison. This article is the first in a series, Locked Up: What is a Youth Prison? One of those traits is that a youth prison is large. 

Louisiana Juvenile Defendant Age May Be Raised to 17

At 17, Devin Harris is not old enough to buy a pack of cigarettes. But when he was accused of trying to use someone else’s credit card to buy cigarettes, he swiftly realized that — at least when it comes to the criminal justice system — the state of Louisiana considers him to be an adult. “The last thing I wanted was to be in the system,” said Mr. Harris, who was in jail for nine nights in April because his mother could not afford the bond before he entered a pretrial diversion program. For the teenager, those were long nights. “I called my dad — I ain’t talked to my dad in almost two years,” he said. “I just needed somebody to talk to.”

LOUISIANA: New Orleans, Lafayette teenagers to lobby legislators about raising age for adulthood in criminal justice system

Earlier this year, Jasmine Jeff went to the animal shelter feeling like a responsible teenager — and walked away feeling like a child. Her father had told her she could adopt a dog. So Jeff, who was then 17, walked into the shelter, looked in the first window and fell in love with a terrier, small in size but with outsized charm, she said. But she was then told she was not eligible to adopt it because she was not yet 18.

LOUISIANA: Raise The Age bill to charge 17-year-olds as juveniles passes Louisiana House

Louisiana is about to raise the age of what is considered an adult in the eyes of the law. To date, Louisiana is one of nine states where 17-year-olds who commit minor offenses are treated as adults. Senate Bill 324 on Thursday won easy approval in the Louisiana House and already has been approved by the state Senate. The measure passed the House by a vote of 97-3 with 21 co-authors. But a minor change in wording means the legislation must return to the Senate for final passage. 

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