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Juvenile Justice News

I am Powerful: Reclaiming and Uplifting the Power, Space, and Voice of Incarcerated Youth

On a hot and humid July day in Richmond, Virginia – walking distance from an old port that 200 years ago made Richmond one of the largest sources of enslaved Africans in the country – sat a group of primarily African American teenagers. For a few hours, three days a week during the summer, they traveled from their cells at the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center to ART 180’s Atlas Teen Center on Marshall Street.

They were a part of the second cohort of the Performing Statistics Project. One by one, they went into ART 180’s bathroom, which was rigged into a makeshift recording studio, and they spoke the words they had written. A poem called….I am Powerful.

I Was a Kid in Solitary Confinement

My young parents didn’t have the skill sets to properly raise me, which at a young age caused me to search for acceptance in other places. I began running away at the age of 13 and quickly got heavily involved in drug use.

Remembering Kalief Browder: The State of Youth in Adult Jails and Prisons Two-Years After Kalief Browder’s Death

Today, June 6, 2017, marks the two-year anniversary of the devastating loss of Kalief Browder. Kalief was a twenty-two year old whose traumatic and deeply unjust contact with the adult criminal justice system when he was only 16-years old changed the course of his life forever.

Sens. Lankford and Booker introduce bipartisan bill to ban juvenile solitary confinement

Senators James Lankford R-Okla., and Cory Booker D-N.J., on Tuesday introduced the MERCY Act, a bipartisan bill that would prohibit the solitary confinement of juveniles who are tried in the federal system and held in pretrial facilities or juvenile detention facilities. 

'Culture of cover-up:' Warden forced to retire from prison where whistleblower says teen inmates abused

During her four years as the supervisor of a program for teen inmates jailed at the Clemens Unit in Brazoria, an adult prison, Dominique Mitchell repeatedly alleged abuse and neglect

'Raise the Age' bill may not be implemented right away

A House committee advanced a bill Tuesday that would delay the implementation of the “Raise the Age” law requiring 17-year-olds to be prosecuted as juveniles instead of adults.

Plans for the change had passed the Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support in 2016 and were set to take effect July 1.

'Raise the Age' Laws Could Reduce Recidivism For Young Offenders

You have to be 18 to vote in a general election or join the military without your parents’ consent — and you’ve got to be 21 before you can belly up to the bar.

16-Year-Old Rosalyn “Bird” Holmes Spent More Than 40 Days in an Adult Prison Without an Indictment

A teen who spent weeks in an adult prison in Tennessee was released on bail on Wednesday, May 16, according to the Tennessean. Rosalyn “Bird” Holmes, 16, was held at a women’s prison, effectively in almost solitary confinement, on the Tennessee State Penitentiary campus under the state’s “safekeeping” laws, on a $60,000 bond in a case with no indictment.

In an interview with Teen Vogue, Bird (whose nickname came from her father) explained how an entire unit was used to house her and one other minor. She said that, while she was being held at the facility about 50 miles from her home in Shelby County, she missed "being able to see [my family] every day."

17-year-olds may soon no longer be tried as adults in every criminal case

17 year olds in Missouri may no longer be automatically tried as adults in every criminal case.
It's part of a bill just approved by Missouri lawmakers. It is senate bill 793, and would raise the age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18. It would place 17 year olds who are charged with a crime in the juvenile justice system unless they are certified as an adult by a judge.

17-Year-Olds Will No Longer Be Tried As Adults In Missouri If Governor Signs Bill

Missouri would join a majority of U.S. states in raising the age someone can be tried as an adult in court to 18 under a bill passed by the legislature this session.

Currently, 17- year- olds are considered adults. The measure, which the Senate passed Thursday, raises the age to 18, except for egregious crimes like first-degree murder. Missouri is one of only five states that had yet to raise the age limit. 

The bill sponsor, GOP Sen. Wayne Wallingford of Cape Girardeau, said the change allows teenagers to finish high school and reduce the chance that he or she would commit another crime in the future.

7 Key Provisions Of The Criminal Justice Bill

After months of contemplation, the Legislature has approved and sent to Gov. Charlie Baker a pair of bills overhauling the state’s criminal justice system.

If signed by the governor, the bills (S.2371 & H.4012) will make several sweeping changes to criminal justice laws in Massachusetts.

A decade after prison, a poet studies for the bar exam

Reginald Dwayne Betts has wanted to be a lawyer for almost as long as he has wanted to be a poet. “Poetry and law have always been intertwined in my mind,” he said recently, “in part because poetry gives me the language to pretend that I can answer questions, even if I can’t.” We were in New Haven, Connecticut, and Betts was three days from his Yale Law School graduation. The bar exam was two months away. He was focused on his final paper for an empirical-research class: twenty pages on critiques, in the media, of “broken windows” policing. 


A Foundation Works To Engage Journalists in Juvenile Justice Reform

Reporters generally stink at math, yet they love numbers. The bigger the number, the more compelling the story becomes. Here's a number that scribes will hear at a juvenile-justice conference this week, sponsored by the Tow Foundation: It costs up to $90,000 to jail a youth for a year, and the re-offender rate is higher compared to cheaper intervention programs that stress staying in school and out of lockup.

A Judge Saw Potential, and Saved My Life

I was 15 when we snuck alcohol from a friend’s parents liquor cabinet. I was only 16 when I started smoking marijuana, and eventually, I tried this little pain pill the doctors prescribed. I never thought I’d lose the honors classes, sports, friendships —my future —to heroin, but by 17 I had.

A Look Back at the Juvenile Justice System Before There Was Gault

The case is a half-century old this week, a landmark decision that merged jurisprudence, common sense and fortunate timing to reshape juvenile justice and give children many of the same due process rights long held by adults charged with crimes.

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