• The Atlantic magazine has published an article with an interesting public health perspective on the “incarceration epidemic” in the US.  Richard Gunderman writes “The toll on families is clear. Incarceration converts two-parent families to one-parent families and one-parent families to no-parent families. Husbands are taken away from wives, and in many cases (over 100,000 inmates are juveniles) children are taken away from their parents. Incarceration itself causes suffering for families, who must do without their loved ones for long periods of time. The penumbra of its stigma can prove especially burdensome for children.” To read more click here.
  • But here in New York, and in the nation more broadly, we are making progress. A new study released last month finds that the US is putting fewer children behind bars. New York state has seen one of the sharpest drops. In New York state, the number of youth confined in public facilities decreased from 2,517 in 2001 to 1,005 in 2010, a 60 percent decline. To read more click here
  • The beloved children’s tv network Sesame Workshop has recently announced an exciting and innovative new resource in response to the rapidly growing number of children in the U.S. with incarcerated parents. The initiative, called “Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration” targets children aged 3-8 who have family members that are out of their lives as a result of incarceration. The effort aims to comfort and reduce confusion, anxiety, and sadness for children facing such traumatic situations. It also provides tips, strategies, and age appropriate language to support caregivers, as well as useful information for incarcerated parents on how to stay involved and in communication despite their physical separation. To learn more click here
  • Watch a creative and informative new video, released as part of the MacArthur Foundation campaign “Mistakes Kids Make.” The two-minute clip uses stick figure animation to present a compelling case about how we as a nation may be complacent in a major mishandling of how young people are dealt with when they break the law. To watch the video click here
  • The Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Public Policy  released a report last October, entitled Improving the Juvenile Justice System for Girls: Lessons from the State. It dives into reasons behind the recent rise in the number of  girls caught up in the juvenile justice system and recent state efforts to provide care for these girls.  It also offers gender sensitive reform recommendations aimed at federal policy makers. The report draws connections between childhood sexual trauma for girls and juvenile justice involvement, and makes a case for how current juvenile justice practices may exacerbate trauma symptoms. The report goes on to demonstrate that, because of differing childhood experiences and biological development between boys and girls, the current system which has been developed to manage boys, fails to effectively treat the gender specific issues girls caught in the juvenile justice system typically face. To read the full report click here.

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Improving the Juvenile Justice System for Girls: Lessons from the States October, 2012

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