Shifting his approach to Wisconsin’s long-troubled juvenile prison, Gov. Scott Walker detailed an $80 million plan to turn Lincoln Hills School for Boys into an adult facility and open five smaller teen lockups around the state. Milwaukee County’s chief judge has called the Lincoln Hills School for Boys “inhumane.”
An inmate serving a life sentence for murder reflects on the tragedy that landed him behind bars, and on his search for forgiveness for a criminal past that made him a “monster,” in an essay written for the Beat Within, a prison writers’ workshop based in San Francisco.
King County, Wa., Sheriff John Urquhart consulted with brain researchers to come up with more understandable warnings that were tested in focus groups. “For the most part, we have always done the same warning for kids that we do for adults,” says Urquhart. “Kids’ brains develop slower. To be fair, we thought we should revise the warning so that they understand what their constitutional rights are.”
President Trump will appoint law Prof. Caren Harp, who has served both as a prosecutor and public defender, to head the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. She has written that incarcerating youth “does not enhance public safety in the long run.”
The first update of the federal law on juvenile crime since 2002 is being blocked by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR). He opposes measures that would keep youth offenders from being locked up for violating court orders over such issues as curfew violations and school attendance.
In a surprise move, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott dispatched the Texas Rangers to conduct a “detailed investigation” into growing allegations of sexual misconduct and assaults in state-run lockups for teenage lawbreakers. The inquiry is a likely prelude to significant reforms the governor wants in the agency that incarcerates 1,000 youth offenders.
The state senate would raise the age of majority to 19. Prompted by a growing body of research on adolescent mental development, some studies suggest including more teens in the juvenile system lowers recidivism rates.