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The Court is Right: Children are 'Constitutionally Different.'

Individuals told as children that they are unworthy of ever living again in a free society have renewed hope this week because of a U.S. Supreme Court decision reaffirming its call to hold young people accountable in age-appropriate ways. Now it is up to resentencing courts and parole authorities to ensure that happens. The Supreme Court's historic ruling, in Montgomery v. Louisiana, held as retroactive its 2012 decision in Miller v. Alabama, which banned mandatory life without parole sentences for […]

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A Good Week for Juvenile Justice, But the Work Isn't Done

It's been a big week for young people in the justice system. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that those previously sentenced to life without parole as juveniles must have at least a chance at life outside prison walls. And President Obama's subsequent ban, announced the same day, on solitary confinement for young people in federal prisons marks another critical acknowledgment of how we need to think about young people in prison. These recognitions—of both science and the human capacity […]

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Obama Limits Solitary In Federal Prisons, Bans Practice For Juveniles

President Obama announced a ban on solitary confinement for juvenile offenders in the federal prison system, saying the practice is overused and has the potential for devastating psychological consequences, the Washington Post reports. In an op-ed in today’s editions of the Post, the president outlines a series of executive actions that also prohibit federal corrections officials from punishing prisoners who commit “low-level infractions” with solitary confinement. The new rules also call for expanding treatment for mentally ill prisoners. While the […]

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Prison Authors: “My Life’s Turning Point”

This essay was originally published by The Beat Within, a justice system writing workshop. It was written at the San Francisco Juvenile Justice Center.The full name of the author has been withheld. It's cold out here and I've been practicing my left hand lay-up for about an hour now. I go up for another lay-up and miss it. It isn't any help that the rim is slightly crooked. I can hear my brother talking about a girl he used to […]

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Juvenile Imprisonment Drop Could Help Adult Reforms, If Crime Doesn’t Rise

The 12-year, 53 percent drop in juvenile incarceration is sustainable and a model for reform of the adult criminal justice system, experts tell the Christian Science Monitor. “I think once you have a 12-year trend, it sort of feels like it's not just a blip,” says Jake Horowitz of the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Public Safety Performance Project,which issued the analysis of data from the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Pew said the incarceration rate dropped […]

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Horrific Conditions In Prisons “Common, Not Exceptional,” Schiraldi Writes

Vincent Schiraldi of the Harvard Kennedy School's Program in Criminal Justice said two things surprised him about his decade that just ended as a correctional administrator in Washington, D.C., and New York City. Writing in the New York Times, Schiraldi said that, “Horrific institutional conditions are common, not exceptional. Too often, the general public views correctional atrocities as idiosyncratic — leading to a focus on firing this administrator or arresting that staff member — rather than endemic.” He notes that […]

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Media Network Launching Campaign To Reform Juvenile Justice, End Solitary

FUSION, a media network launched by ABC and Univision, is announcing today a national effort to raise awareness about the need to reform the juvenile justice system. At a Washington, D.C., event with U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), the network will preview a documentary it will broadcast at 8 p.m. Sunday called, “Prison Kids: A Conversation About Juvenile Justice and The Need to End Solitary Confinement.” The U.S. has more than 54,000 children in juvenile detention and spends $8 billion […]