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Healing Words: Creative Writing Programs as Therapy for Kids in Detention and More; News Roundup
by DAVID BACKES

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • A Handful of States Lead the Way on Juvenile Crime Prevention (TheCrimeReport.org)
    States are "surprisingly slow" in adopting proven methods to deal with violent or delinquent youth and their families, a national juvenile justice conference was told today. Failure to use the programs has been shown to result in higher crime rates and higher costs.
  • Healing Words: Creative Writing Programs as Therapy for Kids in Detention (JJIE.org)
    Many programs incorporating elements of creative writing have been set up across the nation’s juvenile halls and treatment facilities, with the National Endowment for the Arts recognizing creative writing workshops like Massachusetts’ Actors’ Shakespeare Project and the Los Angeles-based InsideOUT Writers.
  • St. Clair County Gives Child Court Cases Special Treatment (BND.com)
    Court cases involving children will be handled by a new team at the St. Clair County, Illinois, State's Attorney's Office. St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly created the Children's Justice Division, headed by assistant state's attorney and new mother Anna Young.
  • Foundation Strives to Create Legacy for Juvenile Justice Reform (JJIE.org)
    The nonprofit MacArthur Foundation has spent more than $100 million since 2004 on developing blueprints for reform within the juvenile justice systems of 16 states. Earlier this week, its reform initiative, Models for Change, brought together nearly 400 judges, advocates, probation officers and other juvenile justice professionals for two days of workshops in Washington, D.C.

The Shocking Details of a Mississippi School-to-Prison Pipeline and More; News Roundup
by DAVID BACKES

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Viewpoint: Localizing Juvenile Justice Spurs National Reforms (American City & County)
    Across the country, jurisdictions are moving away from centralized juvenile justice systems and toward smaller, local programs. Local systems are less expensive and are proving to be highly effective.
  • New Report: Minors in ‘Solitary’ Hallucinate, Harm Themselves (JJIE.org)
    A new report on solitary confinement of minors includes harrowing descriptions of the psychological and physical impact ‘solitary’ has on young people, as well as surprising revelations about why some authorities resort to isolating juveniles.
  • Juvenile Courts were Created to Get Kids on Track (DesMoinesRegister.com)
    Experts believe teenage brains are not fully developed. Society knows they should not be judged and punished in the same way as adults. So like other states, Iowa created a juvenile justice system to ensure that young offenders are given the help to get their lives moving in the right direction.
  • Opinion: Juvenile Justice (Tallahassee.com)
    The state Department of Juvenile Justice’s new Roadmap to System Excellence is indeed an exercise in common sense. The Roadmap, which was discussed Thursday in Tallahassee in the first of a series of town hall meetings to hear from citizens and stakeholders, has the lofty goal of making Florida a leader in juvenile justice.
  • Avery D. Niles Sworn In As New Georgia Department Of Juvenile Justice Commissioner (WJBF.com)
    Avery D. Niles, of Clermont, Georgia was sworn in Friday as the new Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).
  • States Mull Ohio-Style Juvenile Justice Reform (JJIE.org)
    Georgia has room to make its juvenile justice system more regular, cheaper and better, according to preliminary suggestions from a blue-ribbon panel charged with drafting an overhaul. States including Texas and Ohio have gone down the same path, which, say experts, is not completely smooth.
  • The Shocking Details of a Mississippi School-to-Prison Pipeline (COLORLINES.com)
    Cedrico Green can’t exactly remember how many times he went back and forth to juvenile. When asked to venture a guess he says, “Maybe 30.” He was put on probation by a youth court judge for getting into a fight when he was in eighth grade. Thereafter, any of Green’s school-based infractions, from being a few minutes late for class to breaking the school dress code by wearing the wrong color socks, counted as violations of his probation and led to his immediate suspension and incarceration in the local juvenile detention center.
  • First Court of Appeals Hears Case Challenging Transfer of Juvenile to Adult Court (ChildrenAndTheLawBlog.com)
    Children in Texas can be tried in adult criminal court under a waiver statute that permits the transfer of a juvenile to adult court after a hearing is conducted by a juvenile judge. On October 31, 2012 the First Court of Appeals in Houston heard a case challenging the transfer of a child, C.M. The decision of the Court is pending.
  • EDITORIAL: Juvenile Injustice (The New York Times)
    Step by step, the Supreme Court has been trying to reshape the way the American criminal justice system deals with those under the age of 18. In Miller v. Alabama this June, it ruled that a mandatory life sentence without parole for a juvenile is cruel and unusual punishment, even when the crime is homicide.
  • Marijuana Decriminalization Law Brings Down Juvenile Arrests in California (PublicIntegrity.org)
    Marijuana — it’s one of the primary reasons why California experienced a stunning 20 percent drop in juvenile arrests in just one year, between 2010 and 2011, according to provocative new research.
  • For the Newly-Elected Judge, a Different View of Juvenile Court (YouthToday.org)
    Dozens of lawyers won their first elections as judges this month, and they will soon experience the sensation of viewing the courtroom from the other side of the bench and hearing the words “your honor” directed at them.

Elementary-Schoolers' Arrests Alarm Justice Officials and More; News Roundup
by DAVID BACKES

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • [Video] Fresno Local Conservation Corps Re-Entry Program Highlighted by Local News (The Corps Network)
    Earlier this week several staff members from the Fresno Local Conservation Corps joined KSEE24 local news to talk about their re-entry program for formerly incarcerated youth.
  • New Push to Help Juvenile Offenders (WCTV.TV)
    The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice is pushing a proposed plan it says will help keep youthful offenders out of jail and revamp the juvenile justice system.
  • Juvenile Justice: Mass. Formulating New Sentencing Policies (WBUR.org)
    In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles convicted of murder was unconstitutional. The court declared life without parole for juveniles was “cruel and unusual punishment,” thereby in violation of the 8th Amendment.
  • Elementary-Schoolers' Arrests Alarm Justice Officials (Orlando Sentinel)
    Circuit Judge Alicia Latimore, one of three judges who handles juvenile-delinquency cases in Orange, was so concerned about the kids' arrests that she visited Cherokee's campus this fall. The arrests at Cherokee outnumber the arrests of students at Orange's 121 other public elementary schools combined.

Rethinking Prison Terms For Juveniles and More; News Roundup
by DAVID BACKES

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Success in Juvenile Justice Diversions May Influence Treatment of Adult Offenders in Florida (JJIE.org)
    In October, officials in one Florida community announced that its local police force would now have the ability to issue civil citations in lieu of formal arrests for certain crimes. The Leon County, Fla., measure targeting a largely adult-offender base takes many cues from the state’s juvenile justice system, which has seen vast improvements to juvenile crime rates due to lock-up alternatives.
  • Rethinking Prison Terms For Juveniles (Courant.com)
    Recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions and new developments in psychology and brain science are prompting Connecticut to reconsider prison sentences for juveniles. The courts allow for a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole for juvenile offenders, but juveniles in Connecticut can still receive mandatory sentences of life without parole in adult court.
  • Juvenile Justice Reform Priority for State Lawmakers (NBC26.tv)
    Now that the election is over, lawmakers say they have a lot of unfinished business to get back to. Georgia goes back to legislative session in January, but Representative Wayne Howard said the planning starts now. Howard acknowledges that there wasn’t enough funding for juvenile justice reform last year, but that they hope to fit it in the budget this year.
  • I-Team: Shackles Coming Off Juveniles in Court (8NewsNow.com)
    For the first time since anyone can remember, juveniles accused of a crime in Clark County, Nevada, are not wearing shackles in court. For years, children have appeared with chains at their hands, waist and feet, a policy that applied to all of those accused, regardless of risk.

Experts Say Mental Health Effects of Hurricane Sandy Could be Powerful and More; News Roundup
by DAVID BACKES

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Juvenile Court Reform Details Emerging (MemphisDailyNews.com)
    Shelby County, Tennessee, Juvenile Court Chief Administrative Officer Larry Scroggs describes the court as being “sort of at the end of the beginning” in a review process by the U.S. Justice Department. And after this summer’s scathing report from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division of the court’s due process practices, Scroggs told those at a public hearing this week that the plan for systemic changes at the court will likely be a three- to five-year process.
  • Juvenile Justice Judge Speaks to At-Risk Students about Staying in School (WFXG.com)
    As students celebrate Red Ribbon Week, the Burke County Alternative School in Georgia invited juvenile justice judge Doug Flanagan to talk to them about the importance of staying in school. Judge Flanagan says this is one of the best schools in Burke County.
  • After the Violence, the Rest of Their Lives (The New York Times)
    At a time when the homicide rate in Chicago has risen sharply, jumping 25 percent over all since last year and 100 percent or more in a few gang-heavy neighborhoods, the research project offers a portrait of both the perpetrators and the victims in struggling, gang-ridden neighborhoods.
     

Troubled Teens Could Benefit from Online Access to Health Records and More; News Roundup
by DAVID BACKES

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Why So Many Hawaiian, Samoan And Filipino Youth In Justice System? (Honolulu Civil Beat)
    Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander and mixed-race youth are disproportionately represented in Hawaii's juvenile justice system, a recent study concludes. The statewide analysis found that Hawaiian, Samoan and Filipino youth "fare worse than Caucasians at the stages of arrest," a pattern that continues as the young people move through detention, probation and protective services.
  • More Juvenile Offenders Put Through Diversion Programs, Less Locked Up (CourierPostOnline.com)
    Fewer young people in New Jersey are being locked up for offenses they commit, so states a report issued Wednesday by Newak-based children’s advocacy group Advocates for Children of New Jersey. The “Kids Count Special Report: Juvenile Justice” states that last year, the state incarcerated nearly 7,000 fewer juveniles than it did prior to the start of an initiative to bring down the what ACNJ deemed to be over use of juvenile detention.
  • Minorities Prevalent in Juvenile Justice System (KIMT.com)
    In Minnesota, juveniles who are minorities are three times as likely to be arrested than young people who are white. A report from the Minnesota Office of Justice Programs compares rates of minority youth in the state's juvenile justice system to those of white youth. The report finds that youth of color are more than one and a half times more likely to be securely detained than white youth.
  • 'A Door to Anywhere': Juvenile Justice Center Aims to Get Kids on the Right Track (TheDailyCourier.com)
    "When the juvenile court system started in Chicago 110 years ago, they realized that there's hope for children," Arizona Supreme Court Justice Robert Brutinel told an audience of 300 at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday for the new Yavapai County Juvenile Justice Center in Prescott.
  • Study Reveals Disparities in Juvenile Justice (New America Media)
    Youth-of-color are disparately represented at all stages of justice-system processing in Minnesota, according to a report from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Justice Programs. The OJP report compares rates of involvement of youth-of-color at key stages of Minnesota’s juvenile justice system to those of white youth.

Tough Times For Girls In Juvenile Justice System and More; News Roundup
by DAVID BACKES

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Kids Count Report Demonstrates New Jersey’s Successes In Juvenile Justice (NTToday.net)
    Advocates for Children of New Jersey today released a special juvenile justice Kids Count report entitled, “Measuring Change in New Jersey’s Treatment of Young Offenders.” The report details the successful reforms in juvenile justice since the implementation of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Justice Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) in New Jersey.
  • Tough Times For Girls In Juvenile Justice System (NPR.org)
    [AUDIO STORY] The number of boys locked up for crimes has dropped over the past decade, but the number of young women detained in jails and residential centers has moved in the other direction. Experts say girls make up the fastest-growing segment of the juvenile justice system, with more than 300,000 arrests and criminal charges every year.
  • Common Sense Discipline In Denver Schools (RightOnCrime.com)
    Between 2009 and 2011, enrollment in Denver schools rose six percent. But even with an increased number of students, expulsions dropped 44 percent, from 185 to 104. That’s because the school district has adopted alternatives to zero-tolerance, such as restorative justice and conflict resolution, which seek to defuse and resolve disciplinary issues before they rise to a level demanding expulsion.
  • South Dakota Counties Export Effective Juvenile Justice (RightOnCrime.com)
    Minnehaha and Pennington County, in South Dakota, have dropped juvenile detention rates by one-third and one-half, respectively, in just two years. Now the rest of the state is hoping to follow their lead.

Should 24-Year-Old Offenders be Considered Juveniles? This Story and More; News Roundup
by DAVID BACKES

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Youth Crime's Decline (NewsObserver.com)
    The new approach to juvenile crime hasn’t just worked. It has worked spectacularly. A report last Sunday by The News & Observer’s Thomasi McDonald said that the number of young people under 16 charged with violent crimes has dropped by nearly 37 percent. The arrests in that same age group for property crimes are down 40 percent.
  • Georgia Considers Juvenile Justice Reforms (The Augusta Chronicle)
    After overhauling its adult criminal justice system to provide alternative sentences for nonviolent offenders and reduce skyrocketing prison costs, the state of Georgia is turning its attention to the juvenile justice system.
  • DJJ Launches Roadmap to System Excellence (Florida Department of Juvenile Justice)
    The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) invited the people of Florida today to participate in a conversation about the Roadmap to System Excellence. The Roadmap builds on reforms already underway at DJJ and guides Florida on the path to becoming the national model for juvenile justice administration.
  • Should 24-Year-Old Offenders be Considered Juveniles? (JJIE.org)
    When the National Partnership for Juvenile Services annual symposium opened in Las Vegas, Jason Bowser, a youth service director from Columbus, Ind., told an executive committee that one of the standing committees was focusing on the question of “What is a juvenile?”
  • Counties Push to Bypass State Youth Lockups (Statesman.com)
    Counties in Texas might soon be allowed to incarcerate all their teenage lawbreakers locally rather than send them to state-run lockups that have been plagued by violence, high recidivism rates and gang activity in recent years, officials confirmed Wednesday.
  • Juvenile Justice and the Campaign (TheCrimeReport.org)
    California's second largest county is coping with widespread gang violence and prescription drug abuse among youth. But as election day nears, juvenile justice remains a whisper in a monsoon of economic rhetoric.
  • [Opinion] Adolescents in Grown-Up Jails (The New York Times)
    The practice of confining young people to adult jails and prisons is both counterproductive and inhumane. Adolescents who are locked up with adults are more likely to be raped, battered or driven to suicide than young people who are handled through the juvenile justice system. After the trauma of doing hard, adult time, young people often return home as damaged individuals who are more likely to commit violent crimes and end up back inside.
  • Florida To Completely Privatize Juvenile Correctional Facilities (HuffingtonPost.com)
    In an effort to reduce costs, Florida's state-run residential programs for juveniles will soon be completely privatized. The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice announced Monday that the state will relinquish control of the five remaining public youth residential centers by October 2013.
  • Dog Trainer Teaches Empathy at Tehama Juvenile Hall (Redding.com)
    When dog trainer Gary Watts faces a group of kids detained in juvenile hall, he's focused on his mission. With a Labrador retriever named Abby in tow, he puts her through her paces and methodically demonstrates the fine points of canine obedience.

Morgan State Forum Illuminates Justice System's Racial Disparity and More; News Roundup
by DAVID BACKES

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Memphis Seeking Alternatives to Locking up Wayward Youths (The Commercial Appeal)
    National experts arrived in Memphis to help guide juvenile justice officials, law enforcement and community leaders Tuesday on reforming a system that has been cited for disparate treatment of black youths.
  • Departing Georgia Juvenile Boss: Crisis Passed (JJIE.org)
    After serving for nearly one year, Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice Commissioner Gale Buckner announces her departure, with a parting message for the agency, “the crisis stage is passed and we’re on to better opportunities.”
  • Mayor Highlights "Close To Home" Juvenile Justice Program (NY1.com)
    Juvenile offenders are now living within New York's five boroughs and attending schools here after years of serving time upstate. The Close to Home initiative transfers the majority of young offenders to the city's control from the state. Mayor Michael Bloomberg was in Brooklyn Thursday to highlight the program. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
  • Morgan State Forum Illuminates Justice System's Racial Disparity (The Baltimore Sun)
    Nearly every juvenile housed in Baltimore's adult prison in August — 41 of 42 — was black, an issue that brought more than 300 stakeholders together Wednesday at Morgan State University to discuss racial disparity in the criminal justice system.
  • New York to Try Again to ‘Raise the Age’ (JJIE.org)
    New York state 16- and 17-year-olds go to adult court, a practice nearly unique to the state. But that may change, as the New York legislature is expected to take another look at proposals to raise the age of criminal responsibility.
  • Number Of Juveniles Behind Fences At South Carolina Department Of Juvenile Justice Drops Dramatically (WJBF.com)
    The number of juveniles behind the razor wire at the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) has dropped to 95, down from 175 two years ago. DJJ Director Margaret Barber says there are a number of reasons why, including the fact that juvenile crime overall is down nationwide and in South Carolina.
  • Reforms Credited for Driving Juvenile Crime Down in North Carolina (NewsObserver.com)
    In the last couple of decades, combating teen crime and gangs in North Carolina attracted the attention of legislators, policymakers and a governor. Now there’s evidence that their solutions are working. While overall violent crimes have declined by nearly 14 percent in the state since 2002, the number of teens under 16 charged with violent crimes has dropped by nearly 37 percent.
  • Georgia Judge: Schools--Not Courts--Should Handle Truancy (RightOnCrime.com)
    Truancy cases are increasingly referred to courts across the country rather than handled between schools and the parents. This process is expensive, ties up court resources from more pressing public safety priorities, and is ineffective in addressing chronic absenteeism.

[OPINION] Florida is Poorly Equipped to Deal with Juveniles Accused of Murder and More; News Roundup
by DAVID BACKES

 

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • DJJ Offenders Meet Their Victims In New BARJ Program (WLTX.com)
    Tuesday there was a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Department of Juvenile Justice's Broad River Road complex in South Carolina as officials announced the implementation of a program called Balanced and Restorative Justice, or BARJ. The program allows young offenders to collaborate with their parents, the victim and officers to come up with solutions to their crimes.
  • New Term for U.S. Supreme Court Prompts Reflection on Children's Rights (Juvenile Law Center)
    Since 1917, the first Monday in October has been the official opening day of the annual term of the United States Supreme Court. For the first time in many years, there are no cases currently set for review that raise large questions about children’s status under the Constitution. So … it seems like a good time to pause and reflect on how children and youth have fared in recent years.
  • Feds End Monitoring of Juvenile Justice Spending (OnlineAthens.com)
    The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice has satisfied federal auditors that it no longer requires intensive monitoring, members of the state agency’s board learned Thursday. The monitoring began last winter when officials from the U.S. Department of Education issued citations to the state agency for how it was handling $3.3 million in federal funds earmarked for schooling children in detention.
  • [OPINION] Florida is Poorly Equipped to Deal with Juveniles Accused of Murder (Jacksonville.com)
    The twists and turns in the case of 13-year-old Cristian Fernandez show how ill-equipped Florida is to deal with juveniles in such cases. A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in an Alabama case leaves the young man facing charges for murder for which there are no applicable penalties.