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 […]


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 […]


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, […]

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Why Do We Still Shackle Kids?

When Skye Gosselin came to the Biddeford District Court on the coast of southern Maine to answer a disorderly conduct charge, a marshal put her in handcuffs and metal leg irons. She was 12 years old. Nearly five years later, the memory still haunts her. “It makes you kind of feel like a really crazed criminal or an animal, and it sticks with you,” Gosselin recalled recently in an interview with The Crime Report. The marshal determined she should be […]


Equal Justice? Not for All Maine Kids

The reforms of Maine’s juvenile justice system are the envy of many states, but if you're a young African-American who gets in trouble at school, you're still more likely to end up in the school-to-prison pipeline. According to a report by the University of Southern Maine Muskie School of Public Service, black youths in Maine's Androscoggin County are arrested at a rate more than three times higher than their white counterparts. And black youths in the Lewiston, Maine area are […]


America's 'Third-World' Approach to Juvenile Offenders

So-called “zero tolerance” policies in schools and juvenile justice systems have made the United States “almost third world in punitive measures,” according to a former Chief Judge of the State of New York. Judith Kaye told a gathering of advocates and criminal justice practitioners that many widespread “tough-on-crime” juvenile justice policies do little to deter violence, but effectively hold back large numbers of young people in need of help. “These commitments are not just overwhelmingly expensive, they are also ineffective,” […]


School Behind Bars

When he was young, Cadeem Gibbs was really into school. Bright, curious and naturally rebellious, he enjoyed arguing the opposing point of view in a classroom discussion just to see how well he could do it. “I was always academically inclined,” says the Harlem, New York native, now 24. “I always wanted to learn.” But there were plenty of stressors in his young life—a violent upbringing, a household in poverty—and the struggle to navigate them pulled him away from his […]