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Juvenile Justice News

Vital Juvenile Justice Initiatives at Risk in First 100 Days

From banning conversion therapy for gay and trans youth to eliminating solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prisons, President Obama issued a slew of executive orders designed to protect at-risk youth over the past eight years. Now, advocates are worried that new executive orders will undo all that’s been done.

Ways to Let Detained Youth Know They’re Not Forgotten This Holiday Season

As the holidays approach, we often forget there are so many youth who are detained, in placement or simply away from their families. There were 50,821 youth in some type of facility in 2014, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency and Prevention reported.

We Need an Intersectional Approach to Juvenile Justice Reform

DMC (disproportionate minority contact) is no longer simply about the over-representation of black and brown youth in the juvenile justice system. In recent years, it has come to mean something far broader and deeper to those in the reform trenches.

What About Convicts of Violent Crimes?

Marcus Bullock is an incarceration-reform advocate who launched a painting company after his 2004 release from prison. As well, he is the founder and CEO of an app, Flikshop, that enables the imprisoned to receive email. Asked what proposition ought to be subject to more debate, he focused on the fate of criminals.

What I really want for Father’s Day: Stop Solitary for Kids

As Father’s Day approached, and I watched my kids excitedly make plans to celebrate, I couldn’t help but reflect on my juvenile justice reform work. As a former youth corrections administrator, I noticed their excitement is so different than the isolation we know is too often experienced by kids in facilities. 

When a Sibling Goes to Prison

On any given day, 54,000 juvenile offenders are not living with their families because they are instead in one of the 696 youth-detention facilities across the United States. In an average year, 17,800 of them “are just awaiting their turn in court,” according to the Campaign for Youth Justice. But those are just the youth in the juvenile-justice system. 

When Parole Boards Trump the Supreme Court

Almost everyone serving life in prison for crimes they committed as juveniles deserves a shot at going home. That’s the thrust of a series of Supreme Court rulings, the fourth and most recent of which was decided this year. Taken together, the high court’s message in these cases is that children are different than adults when it comes to crime and punishment — less culpable for their actions and more amenable to change. As such, court rulings have determined all but the rarest of juvenile lifers are entitled to “some meaningful opportunity to obtain release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation.”

Why John Legend Says We’re Failing Thousands of Young Americans

John Legend has a direct message about teens in prisons: they shouldn't be there and it's time for Americans to stand up for them. He's endorsing a new report by Youth First, an organization that advocates for alternatives to youth prison. It lists steps advocates can take to fight the youth prison system and minimize the damage it does to the young people caught in it.

Why the U.S. juvenile justice system needs serious reform

In A&E's infamous show, Beyond Scared Straight, "at-risk" kids with major behavioral problems are thrust into adult prisons for a day to literally scare them into never wanting to see the inside of a jail cell again. Once at the prisons, they are spat on, temporarily enclosed in holding cells and given the rundown of prison life. And these one-day interventions are just the beginning.

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.

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

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.

‘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. 

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