Roundup: Juvenile Life-Without-Parole Cases to be Reviewed by Supreme Court; Racism May Hurt Kids' Mental Health; and More

  • juvenile-justice-adolescent-treatment-news-newspaperBiggest news of the week: according to The New York Times, the U.S. Supreme Court is taking up the question of whether it's appropriate to sentence juveniles to life without parole, given its 2005 decision that execution for crimes committed as a juvenile is inappropriate given what we now know about their developing brains.
  • Meanwhile, The L.A. Times issued a forceful editorial opposing California's practice of sentencing youth as young as 14 to life without parole on developmental grounds -- and because the cost of occasional parole hearings would be miniscule compared to the cost of incarcerating a teen for life.
  • Many people continue to believe that the threat of incarceration is a deterrent to crime, despite solid research that shows that incarcerating youth makes them more likely to commit new crimes, not fewer. The Santa Fe police, for example, are unhappy with the risk assessment instrument used by their Children, Youth and Families Department on non-violent offenders to determine which youth are detained. Their concern may be merited and the instrument need adjustment, but Police Captain Gary Johnson was quoted as saying, "I don't care what the experts say; going to jail is a deterrent." Johnson's not alone in that sentiment, which just goes to show that you need stories as well as numbers to make your case.
  • The Campaign for Youth Justice interviewed James Bell of the W. Haywood Burns Institute on disparities in the juvenile justice system: don't miss the podcast.
  • The MacArthur Foundation just launched a revamped version of its Models for Change website - check out what they're working on, and their latest publications.
  • Given the huge racial disparities we deal with in the juvenile justice system, it's helpful to remember that racism may hurt kids' mental health, according to a new study in the American Journal of Public Health. The causal relationship isn't definite, but the link is strong.
  • Delta County, CO has begun using restorative justice with its juvenile offenders; meanwhile, a program in Lakeshore Wisconsin celebrated the completion of its 1,000th case using restorative justice and mediation techniques with teens

Updated: February 08 2018