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In Germany, It’s Hard to Find a Young Adult in Prison

Deprivation of liberty is a “last resort” in the German juvenile justice system. Instead, as two US researchers discovered on the last leg of their fact-finding trip in Europe, the priorities are diversion, rehabilitation and minimized interventions for emerging adults under 21 who run afoul of the law.

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Raise the Age, But By How Much?

Long-overdue juvenile justice reforms have increased the age at which juveniles can be charged as adults to 17 or 18. But a few states want to increase it to as high as 21– an initiative that one justice researcher argues could be counterproductive.

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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 […]