Under Pennsylvania law, as in other states, children can be charged as adults, and placed in adult facilities, for certain felonies; but the federal government mandates they be held ‘out of sight and sound” from adults. That often adds an extra burden to local authorities, even as it does little to rehabilitate the young person, according to advocates.
Nearly 200 people on Pennsylvania’s sex offender registry were convicted as adults for offenses committed as juveniles, some for offenses committed when they were as young as five years old. Should there be a statute of limitations for such crimes?
Drug addicts whose violent crimes once earned them the sobriquet of superpredators still languish in prison for years, with little hope of mercy, in defiance of contemporary thinking that treats opioid abuse as a disease that should be handled outside the justice system, writes TCR’s columnist from a Washington State penitentiary.
Tossing troublesome students out of school can put them on a path to drug abuse that extends long into adulthood—particularly when it happens to individuals of color, according to a forthcoming paper in Justice Quarterly. The authors argue that such harsh discipline should only be used as a “last resort.”
Kalief Browder was 16 years old when he was arrested in 2010 and accused of stealing a backpack. He was detained for three years without being tried or convicted of a crime and in 2015, at age 22, he hanged himself at his parents’ home. The agreed-upon settlement is for $3.3 million.
Three years after the Supreme Court gave inmates sentenced to life without parole as juveniles a chance at freedom, the justice system is gaining speed in revisiting scores of cases. About 400 such offenders have been released, but most remain behind bars as prosecutors and judges wrestle with difficult cases.
Increasing family and community engagement with probation authorities, and addressing the system’s racial disparities are critical to keeping young people from becoming repeat offenders, according to an Urban Institute study of reforms in Ohio and Washington State.