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Juvenile Justice News

CALIFORNIA: A question of basic morality (or lack of it) on legal defense for juveniles

There is something deceptively arcane in the details of a report released last week on the criminal defense of juveniles in Los Angeles County, and in a follow-up motion the Board of Supervisors is to take up on Tuesday. Panel lawyers, flat fees, hourly rates, caseloads — that kind of thing.

CALIFORNIA: As LA County ends solitary confinement for minors, artists step in to reimagine the SHU

At Camp Joseph Scott, a juvenile detention center in Santa Clarita, five girls worked on the wall – some standing, some crouching – their arms occasionally crisscrossing as they painted the nature scene. "I find it like a meditating type of therapy," said Anaceli, 17, who was five months into a seven-month sentence. (We're not using last names to protect the identities of the minors). 

CALIFORNIA: California debates banning long-term solitary confinement for minors

California could lead the way in banning long-term solitary confinement for juveniles in jail, ending a practice that experts say severely harms mental health and increases the risk of suicide.
A newly introduced bill, which has support from both criminal justice reform advocates and state probation officials, would bar youth detention centers from placing juveniles in isolation for more than four hours and says facilities could only use “room confinement” as a last resort after exhausting all less-restrictive options.

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CALIFORNIA: End solitary confinement in juvenile halls (LADN)

California legislators should know the name and story of Kalief Browder. Earlier this month the 22-year-old hanged himself with a cord from an air-conditioner at his family’s Bronx apartment. The once normal teen had endured two years of solitary confinement and beatings during his three years on Rikers Island. Never convicted of a crime, he was the subject of a New Yorker profile that offered a compelling case study on why the practice of isolating youth should stop. It achieves no reasonable goal of rehabilitation. And it is too often used as a primary means of control in juvenile halls.

California: New Law to Protect Jailed Youth

Human Rights Watch

California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that could prevent hundreds of young offenders from enduring rape, assault, and gang life in prison, Human Rights Watch said today. On September 27, 2014, Brown signed Assembly Bill 1276, which requires the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to conduct committee-based, specialized review of each person under age 22 entering prison to consider placing them at a lower security level facility with increased access to educational and self-help programs. Human Rights Watch has advocated for passage of the bill. 

Children Being Housed In Adult Prisons Is an Ongoing Tragedy In America

On the eve of Oct. 17, 2016, 15-year-old Jaquin Thomas was found hanging in his cell at the Orleans Justice Center, an adult prison facility in New Orleans. The teen’s reported suicide came three months after entering the prison on suspicion of murder and a month after being beaten in his cell.

Children in solitary confinement: we must stop treating kids in the system like adults

The images on Four Corners on Monday have shocked the country. They revealed extreme abuse being inflicted on detainees, in a systematic way. This was not a case of one corrections officer doing the wrong thing. This was a case of practices that were clearly accepted by a number of officers, known about by more, and tolerated, if not sanctioned, by the corrections system itself.

COLORADO: Bill to Limit Juvenile Solitary Confinement Advances in Colorado House

The state Legislature is considering a bill to limit the use of solitary confinement as a punishment for Colorado's youths. Despite a 1999 law banning seclusion, independent investigations have shown the Colorado Department of Youth Corrections has repeatedly put juveniles in isolation for days and weeks at a time. Elise Logemann, executive director of the Colorado Juvenile Defender Center, said two separate investigations found the state's Department of Youth Corrections had repeatedly held kids in small rooms with only a metal bed frame, toilet and sink. 

Congressman Rally Behind Juvenile Justice Reform

In something of a departure for Capitol Hill these days, advocates of juvenile-justice reform faced little opposition Wednesday in pushing members of a House subcommittee to revive a bill that never made it out of the Senate last year.

CONNECTICUT: A second chance for CT youths who break the law? (CTM)

After running away from home again, Adam was arrested and jailed for stealing food and magazines from a Hartford bodega. Thirty days later, he was still incarcerated as lawyers and a juvenile court judge tried to figure out what to do with the 17-year-old, who also was struggling with drugs and a mother who wasn’t showing up for his court dates. “Do we want him in custody?” Beth Crawford, an attorney for the state’s child welfare agency, asked the adolescent’s social worker minutes before a juvenile court judge would consider committing him to the Department of Children and Families. The answer to this question, while specific to each case, is one that judges, attorneys and lawmakers in Connecticut generally seem to have reached a consensus on.

CONNECTICUT: Malloy To Try Again To Raise The Age

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, less than three weeks away from the start of the 2017 General Assembly session, made it clear Thursday that he will once again be pushing hard to pass legislation allowing 18-to 20-year-olds to be tried as juveniles. Malloy made that known in a pitch he gave to the Juvenile Justice Policy & Oversight Committee (JJPOC) Thursday at the Legislative Office Building.

Criminal justice reform: the facts about federal drug offenders

A fissure among Senate Republicans threatens federal criminal justice reform, one of the few statutory overhauls that could pass Congress in President Obama’s final year. The Sentencing Reform & Corrections Act (S. 2123), which passed the Senate Judiciary Committee last fall by the comfortable margin of 15-5, has earned support from a bi-partisan group of Senators, the White House, and political advocacy organizations ranging from Koch Industries to the American Civil Liberties Union. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has described the bill as a “truly landmark piece of legislation,” that addresses “legitimate over-incarceration concerns while targeting violent criminals and masterminds in the drug trade.” 

Directly Impacted Youth Are Leading Fights Against Racism and the Criminal Punishment System

There's a growing movement to change the criminal punishment system in this country, and it's being led by men and women who've lived it. As the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls puts it: "Nothing about us without us."

Extend Juvenile Courts Jurisdiction

I spend my Wednesday afternoons at State Correctional Institution-Graterford, a maximum-security prison about an hour away from Temple by car. Here, 10 inmates and the 10 students in my Death and Dying class join together in an Inside-Out course designed to foster transformative learning experiences between people who are incarcerated and those who are not.

Faith, father took UCF grad from prison to law school

Graduating college with top honors is something that Angel Sanchez never imagined as he sat in his jail cell years ago. “In the 'hood, you don’t get a high GPA and you don’t graduate from a university," Sanchez said. "You graduate from the juvenile detention center and go to adult jails." 

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