Juvenile Justice and Teen A&D Treatment News Roundup

newspaperA lot's been happening in juvenile justice lately. Here's some high-and-lowlights:

  • The Obama administration is nominating Seattle's police chief,  R. Gil Kerlikowske, to be the new drug czar. This seems to be encouraging news, as he is chair of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, a law enforcement association that favors prevention and intervention methods for addressing juvenile crime, and disseminates relevant research. 
  • As if the story of the Pennsylvania judges who accepted kickbacks to funnel teens into two private detention centers weren't sordid enough, a top probation official has been charged with "obstructing justice and altering an official record" to obscure her role in the scam. Also, a local newspaper is accusing one of them, Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., of "fixing" a defamation lawsuit brought against the paper by a local businessman after the paper investigated him for corruption. In that case, Ciavarella ordered the newspaper to pay the businessman $3.5 million; now the newspaper is asking that the judgment be overturned. It's also alleging that Ciavarella has close ties to "a reputed mobster" (!) involved in the defamation case. The investigation, federal authorities say, is "far from finished." Yikes.
  • A disappointing number of states don't comply with the JJDPA's core requirements -- notably Mississippi and Wyoming, though Washington, Oregon, South Carolina, and Wisconsin have also been named after the Associated Press obtained the information under the Freedom of Information Act. The problem is, just about the only tool the feds can use to address this problem is to cut funding to non-compliant states, which makes it that much harder for them to get into compliance. While the names of non-compliant states are not usually released -- the Department of Justice prefers a strengths-based approach -- it seems to me that public accountability would be a good thing.

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Updated: February 08 2018