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Juvenile Justice News

FUSION’s Investigative Team Nominated for News & Documentary Emmy Award for “Prison Kids” Documentary

It was announced today that FUSION was recognized with a News and Documentary Emmy Award nomination for “Prison Kids: A Crime Against America’s Children.” The feature documentary, produced by FUSION’s award-winning investigative team, was nominated in the “Outstanding Informational Programming: Long Form” category.  

GEORGIA: What It Means for Black Youth as South Carolina Plans to Raise the Age of Juvenile Offenders from 17 to 18

South Carolina will join the ranks of other states who keep teenagers in the juvenile justice system until age 18. According to Think Progress, the South Carolina state legislature voted unanimously Tuesday to raise the age at which minors can be tried as adults from 17 to 18. The “Raise the Age” bill shot through the state Senate on a vote of 37-0, after the House voted 102-0 earlier this month, the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange reports. The legislation will now land on the desk of Republican Gov. Nikki Haley for her approval. If signed, the legislation will take effect in 2019, the news site reports. 

Get Tough’ Then Another Positive Supreme Court Decision Drops

Does anyone want the rest of their life defined by what they did at 14? I don’t think so, and neither does our Supreme Court.We have come a long way since the first juvenile court in 1899. I have compared our juvenile justice journey to a roller coaster ride of highs and lows, and to the frustrations of piecing together a jigsaw puzzle.

Girls Speak Out On Connecticut's Juvenile Justice System

Girls who have been involved with Connecticut’s juvenile justice system are twice more likely than boys to have symptoms of PTSD. That’s according to research by Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance presented at a forum in Hartford on Wednesday. Those same girls also say they do not feel heard or included in decisions about their lives.

Give Juveniles Their Due

During the summer of 1964, 15-year-old Gerald Gault was accused of making obscene phone calls to a neighbor. Gault, who was on probation at the time, was quickly arrested and put in a juvenile detention center without his parents ever being notified.

GOP Congressman Confident Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention Act will Pass

Congress will pass long-awaited juvenile justice reforms this legislative year, a key Republican representative believes. “I’m going to go out on a limb and say yes,” Jason Lewis, R-Minnesota, said in an interview here last week. “I think we’re getting close. I’m confident we will, because we need to.”

Gov. Bill Haslam signs 'safekeeping' bill, state can no longer house teen safekeepers in adult prisons

Regenia Bowman never thought anything would happen when she talked about spending 189 days in solitary confinement. 

Awaiting trial on an alleged probation violation in 2014, Bowman spent 23 hours a day in a cell. She lived in the same portion of a Tennessee prison that houses the state's lone female death row offender.

She was sent to the state prison because she had MRSA, a skin infection. 

For months in late 2017 and earlier this year, then-15-year-old Teriyona Winton spent almost every hour of every day alone in a small cell intended for adults.

Gov. Brown’s Final Budget: Increased Spending on Foster Youth Education, New Home Visiting and Juvenile Justice Programs

Even as the state faces a potential recession and changes to the federal tax code, California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) made significant investments in the state’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems in the first version of the state’s 2018-2019 budget.

Gov. Edwards willing to delay Louisiana ‘Raise the Age’ law

Gov. John Bel Edwards is willing to postpone Louisiana’s plans to raise the age of adult prosecution by one year amid concerns about having enough money to enact the change, the governor’s office said Tuesday.

In 2016, lawmakers voted to stop automatically routing 17-year-olds through the adult criminal justice system when arrested. The prosecution age change is being phased in, with the juvenile justice system to start handling 17-year-olds charged with non-violent crimes on July 1. Offenders charged with more serious or violent crimes will join two years later. A proposal sponsored by Sen. Ronnie Johns and backed by district attorneys and sheriffs would delay the entire shift until 2020— and only if “adequate funding” is deemed available.

Government Watchdog Finds Racial Bias in School Discipline

Black students continue to be disciplined at school more often and more harshly than their white peers, often for similar infractions, according to a new report by Congress’s nonpartisan watchdog agency, which counters claims fueling the Trump administration’s efforts to re-examine discipline policies of the Obama administration.

The report, issued by the Government Accountability Office on Wednesday, is the first national governmental analysis of discipline policies since the Obama administration issued guidance in 2014 that urged schools to examine the disproportionate rates at which black students were being punished.

Groton teen released from Connecticut juvenile facility charged with armed robbery in Rhode Island

The last child released from the Connecticut Juvenile Training School in Middletown before the locked facility for delinquent boys closed last month was arrested within two weeks in connection with two armed robberies in Rhode Island.

The 16-year-old from Groton is being held in Rhode Island's juvenile detention center in Cranston, called the Thomas C. Slater Training School, and may be tried as an adult, according to his mother. She said her son, whom police allege wielded a gun in one of the robberies, should be held accountable if he committed the crimes, but that the State of Connecticut set up her son for failure.

Group Calls For Juvenile Justice Reforms

Legislation is currently proposed in the Michigan House that would raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to 18, rather than 17. Michigan Catholic Conference Vice President for Advocacy Tom Hickson tells us 17-year-olds are still developing and more inclined to risky, impulsive behaviors. He say it’s not right to treat them like adults in the justice system.

Guest Column: Outdated direct file system doesn’t help youths or society

Olivia was prosecuted in adult court in Florida when she was 16 for stealing two laptops from a high school classroom. Naomi, 16, was also prosecuted in adult court in Florida for stealing a printer.

Unfortunately, these stories typify the state of Florida’s juvenile justice system.

Harnessing data and information can lead to a better youth justice system

A bipartisan consensus has emerged in Congress and state legislatures on the need to focus on finding ways to reduce the over 2 million people in our prisons and jails and make our communities safer. With 18 to 24-year-olds making up roughly one in five people incarcerated in America’s prison and jails — about half of whom are people of color — reducing the number of these young adults locked up is a necessary step towards enhancing public safety.

Help Crime Victims By Committing to Restorative Justice

From the federal level to state legislatures across the country, criminal justice reform measures are a hot topic of conversation and proposed legislation. What is often lost in those conversations are the views and voices of victims.

As an organization that fights to end the prosecution, sentencing and incarceration of children in the adult system, we are all too aware that children are often victims of crime and exposed to trauma before they ever get arrested. One young man who was 15 when he began an eight-year sentence in an adult prison for a carjacking said, “It never occurred to me to carry a gun, or use it against someone until someone stuck a gun in my face.”

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