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Juvenile Justice News

Here's when a juvenile can be tried as an adult

ABC 17 News is taking a closer look at the juvenile court system after a young person is detained in connection with a Columbia homicide. Police said the young man is directly linked to the deadly shooting on Hulen Drive Saturday night, but they aren't releasing any other details because of his age.

House bill could lock teens up for more than a decade

Last month, the House of Representatives approved a bill that has the potential to lock up teens for more than a decade. The effort goes against a growing push to change the justice system nationwide so that kids — the country's most vulnerable — aren't robbed of chances at reform or treated as adults in the system.

House Bill Would End Federal Life Without Parole for Juveniles

An Arkansas congressman has introduced legislation that would end life without parole for juveniles locked up in the federal prison system and give inmates facing those sentences a chance at eventual release.

Rep. Bruce Westerman said it would give people “who strayed from the law during adolescence” the opportunity for a break on their sentences.

“This legislation does not guarantee release,” said Westerman, a Republican, in a statement released by his office. “Instead, it provides the opportunity for a rehabilitated individual whose crime was committed in his or her youth and who has served a minimum of 20 years to have a sentence reviewed by a judge to determine whether a second chance is merited.”

House Judiciary Committee Reauthorizes Federal Juvenile Justice Block Grants

House lawmakers say the reauthorization of a major grant program could encourage more federal funding for juvenile justice programs. The House Judiciary Committee approved today by voice vote legislation (HR 68)to reauthorize the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant program, which lapsed in 2009 and has received no funding since 2013. 

House Panel Approves Bills on Juvenile Justice, Missing Children

A House panel on Tuesday advanced two bills with bipartisan support aimed at improving the welfare of missing and exploited children and reforming the juvenile justice system. The House Committee on Education and the Workforce approved the bills with minor amendments and without any dissent or debate, advancing them by a voice vote.

House rejects bill to require teens accused of murdering police to be tried as adults

The Utah House rejected Thursday a bill that would have required teens accused of murdering an on-duty officer to be tried as adults.

House, Senate Take Different Paths on Proposed Juvenile Justice Funding

Reformers are dismayed by a proposed House spending bill that would eliminate funding for several major juvenile justice programs next year. The House bill is in sharp contrast to corresponding Senate legislation, which would increase juvenile justice spending slightly compared with current levels. 

How A Teenager's Actions Changed Punishments For Violent Juvenile Offenders

Forty years ago this month a 15-year-old boy in New York went on a crime spree that shocked the city and helped change the nature of sentencing minors in America. As part of a new WNYC podcast about the juvenile justice system called Caught Radio Rookies brings this story.

How an Innocent Teenager Confessed to Murder

Davontae Sanford was released Wednesday from prison after serving nine years for a murder to which he confessed, but the state now doubts he committed. Sanford is 23, but was 14 when he said he’d killed four people inside a Detroit home. He is blind in one eye because someone had thrown an egg at him when he was nine. As a teenager, he was enrolled in special-education classes. He lived in a rough part of Detroit and tried to fit in by claiming to be part of a gang, or bragging about fights he’d never had. Sanford was an unlikely suspect. So it made more sense when another man, a Detroit contract killer named Vincent Smothers, confessed to the crime in 2008. 

How Minor Offenses Feed Overcrowding At Harris County Youth Jail

Throughout Texas, it’s clear: Even as the state’s population has skyrocketed in recent years, kids are getting into a lot less trouble with the law. Prosecutors are filing fewer criminal charges against them. Statewide, juvenile prisons are holding fewer youth. And counties are keeping fewer kids in detention while they wait for their cases to get resolved. So why has the the juvenile detention center in Harris County been bursting at the seams?

How Our Coalition Helped Push Big Reforms in Massachusetts 

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, signed into law a criminal justice reform package representing significant progress for our state, including many progressive youth justice reforms, in April. Here’s how we helped engineer that.

How to Reduce Juvenile Crime: Use Separate Courts

As budget-strapped state legislatures seek ways to spend taxpayer dollars more effectively and efficiently, a growing number of states are turning to a solution that, until relatively recently, was assumed to be a budget buster: shifting delinquent youth from adult prisons and courts back to the juvenile-justice system, where they belong.

How to Stop Locking Up Kids

The first time Z felt the pressure of tight metal handcuffs suffocating his wrists, he was a preteen; truant officers cuffed him when he skipped class. When it happened again while he was in middle school, it felt different, more permanent.

Hume: Underneath a facade of justice, our juvenile corrections system is failing

The prosecutors handling January 16th’s Kentucky school shooting case that left two students dead and more than a dozen injured announced last Thursday that they planned on filing a motion to move the suspect to criminal — colloquially “adult” — court. There, the 15-year-old suspect will lose many of the protections — including sentencing restrictions — afforded to him as a juvenile.

I was jailed as a child. I know it's possible to reintegrate into society with support

The United States has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that sentences children to life without the possibility of parole.

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