All but four states still allow or require some drug charges against juveniles to be sent to adult criminal courts, reports The Sentencing Project. Only seven states still will routinely charge 17-year-olds as adults when new Louisiana and South Carolina laws go into effect.
“The more we try to normalize these kids, the better the outcome,” said James Bueche of the Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice, which will distribute holiday gift bags to 235 incarcerated youths. “If you treat them as less than human, that’s the way they’re going to be.”
Arkansas Republican is the lone lawmaker objecting to a renewal of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, which has not been reauthorized since 2002. Cotton objects to a provision that allows youths to be detained for minor offenses if they violate a court order.
Thousands of young people are sent to prison every day, leaving behind scores of brothers and sisters whom researchers call the “most often overlooked” family members of adjudicated youth. These non-offending siblings often suffer high levels of emotional stress, but so far they’ve been paid scant attention.
Experts say Washington, D.C.’s reforms are among the widest-reaching of state level juvenile justice bills passed in recent years. Judiciary Committee chairman Kenyan McDuffie says it will hold young people accountable while giving them rehabilitation opportunities.
A juvenile addict finally puts himself on the path to a healthy life. But it took 10 years—and pro-active probation officers to get there. A series by a Pennsylvania journalist explores the role of drug courts in helping others like him.
Loughran’s Massachusetts youth services agency was praised by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency as the nation’s most cost-effective program. He later founded the national Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators.
Christopher Thomas’ troubled childhood brought him to the attention of juvenile authorities, and earned him a record that would come back to haunt him when he was sentenced–at the age of 15–to 40 years in connection with an armed robbery in which his lawyer says he was “barely involved.”
New York City will no longer send youths 21 and under to solitary confinement. A former prison health care provider says it’s time to apply such an approach nationwide–and for professional associations of social workers and psychologists to put their clout behind efforts to toss this “inhumane” practice into the dustbins of history.