A California law effective this month bars prosecutors from charging minors with prostitution. But the practice of bringing juveniles who have been victims of commercial sexual exploitation into court happens more often than we would expect in many parts of the country.
The Beat Within, a San Francisco prison writers’ workshop, asked inmates to reflect on the upcoming Donald Trump presidency. Some responded with angry poetry and rap. One pleaded for Americans to “give him a chance,” pointing out that as “wards of the state, if no one gives us a chance to change, how can we?”
New York is pardoning some former offenders who committed a nonviolent crime when they were 16 or 17 and have stayed conviction-free for at least 10 years. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the first group of 101 pardons after creating the youth pardon program in 2015. About 10,000 people could benefit from the program. So far, it’s received 260 applications.
States and counties experimenting with extending principles of juvenile justice to offenders as old as 26. They are citing research on adolescent brain science and psychology to make their case for a system that emphasizes rehabilitation and second chances for young offenders
The Restorative Justice Community Court in Cook County will give 18- to 26-year-olds charged with nonviolent crimes an opportunity to work in the community and to avoid a criminal record. The court opens amid new research on the impulsiveness of young adults.
The District’s mayor, attorney general and council leaders say they will amend a lenient second-chance law for youthful offenders. A Washington Post investigation found that many violent offenders sentenced under the District’s Youth Rehabilitation Act have gone on to rob, rape or kill.
Will Smallwood got breaks under Washington, D.C.’s Youth Act as he robbed 100 people. He tells the Washington Post about the law, “It’s just a slap on the wrist. And then you think you can get away with bigger crimes. I look back now and I say, ‘Damn, I f—ed up.’ ”