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KY Juvenile Detention Employee On Leave After Teen Dies In Cell

An employee at a Kentucky juvenile detention center offered breakfast to Gynnya McMillen, 16, more than three hours before officials realized she had died in her cell, reports CBS News. McMillen did not respond to the 6:30 a.m. offer, according to the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet. It’s not clear if she was alive or dead at the time, conscious or unconscious. Two hours later, an employee offered a snack. Again McMillen did not respond. “Nor did she respond […]

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Obama Stance Against Juvenile Solitary Could Prompt Action In States

A new ban on solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prison could bring momentum to reform efforts in states, says the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. President Obama announced the ban and other prison reforms Monday, saying he hoped the policies would be a model for state and local corrections systems. Jenny Lutz of the Center for Children’s Law and Policy, which is helping to organize a national campaign against youth solitary, said Obama’s action may be “a springboard for people […]

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Most States Still Housing Youth In Adult Prisons; 1,200 in 2013

Most states continue to house youth in adult prisons, putting them at risk for physical and sexual abuse, says the Campaign for Youth Justice. As the number of youth in both juvenile and adult facilities decrease, states have the chance to end the practice of housing youth in adult facilities entirely, said the group, reports the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. “These populations are getting smaller and smaller and smaller, which raises the question 'Why are we housing youth in these […]

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Let's Stop Trying to 'Fix' Kids' Behavior With Incarceration

The juvenile justice system was created to ensure public safety while helping youth overcome difficulties and become successful members of their communities. For many young people who have been adjudicated by the juvenile court, though, the system has become a tool for broader intervention than simply preserving safety: a way of getting kids help. Consequently, well-meaning juvenile courts sometimes make decisions to incarcerate kids in hopes of getting them the services they need. This raises grave concerns. Young people should […]

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Boys In PA Juvenile Lockups Get Antipsychotic Drugs At High Rate

The kids, nearly all black or white teenage boys, are sent hours away from their families to Pennsylvania youth correctional facilities, sterile lock-downs surrounded by barbed wire or cabins so far in the wilderness they're considered secure even without a fence. They are the toughest kids in the juvenile justice system, and, in some ways, the most vulnerable, reports PublicSource, writing for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In the months they spend at correctional facilities, they receive mood-altering psychiatric medications at strikingly […]

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Disturbances At TX Juvenile Prisons Prompt Concerns About Treatment

A key Texas legislator is threatening to call a hearing and seek leadership changes at the state Juvenile Justice Department after reports of youths fighting, climbing onto rooftops, running away from staff in large numbers and barricading themselves in at state juvenile correctional facilities, the Texas Tribune reports. Eight disturbances have been reported at four of the state's five juvenile correctional facilities in the last three months, culminating in late September with a two-hour incident at the Giddings State School. […]

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CT Child Advocate: Teen Detention May Prompt Suicide, Not Protect Public

In video footage from inside Connecticut's juvenile correctional facilities, a distressed girl screams as she is restrained on the ground in a corridor. She is left alone, and she ties a shirt tightly around her neck, tries to pull nail-studded wood off the wall and ultimately is taken out of the facility on a stretcher. In another video, a boy who had reported suicidal thoughts is restrained and left lying on the floor, alone in a room. The Juvenile Justice […]

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Raising the Age of Juvenile Court Jurisdiction

The age of juvenile court jurisdiction should be raised to at least 21 years old, researchers propose in a new report released by Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government citing studies that show brain development continues past the teenage years. The research is part of a series published by the Executive Session on Community Corrections at the school, which aims to develop new correctional policy and explore the role communities could play in a more “age-responsive” criminal justice system. The age […]

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Juvenile Justice Reform: No Longer a Partisan Issue

Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved S. 1169, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) of 2015. First signed into law by President Gerald Ford on September 7, 1974, and most recently reauthorized in 2002, the JJDPA embodies a partnership between the federal government and U.S. states, territories and the District of Columbia to protect children and youth in the juvenile and criminal justice systems, to effectively address high-risk and delinquent behavior and to improve community safety. Moreover, […]