New Program Targets Juvenile-Justice System

The State Department of Criminal Justice Services is teaming up with local law enforcement with the goal of lessening juveniles’ contact with the criminal-justice system. The newly formed North County Regional Youth Justice Team, one of eight established across the state, met in Lake Placid recently, with officials in Clinton, Franklin, Essex, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties in attendance. Members include representatives from probation departments, youth-advocate programs, social-services departments, police departments and treatment programs. The regional setup is in recognition of the fact that different regions face very different sets of circumstances; teams will gather data and share best practices among themselves and with state lawmakers. To read more click here

Advocates call for new youth offender laws

Several Syracuse organizations are calling for the State of New York to stop prosecuting teenagers under the age of 18 as adults. Marsha Weismann, Executive Director for The Center for Community Alternatives was there and the event even gained some local news coverage. To read about efforts supporting the Raise the Age Campaign upstate and see the news clip click here

‘Short Term 12′ Tells Complicated Story of Residents, Staff of Fictional Group Home for Troubled Teens

“Short Term 12,” a new film that tells the story of the residents and staff of a group home for teenagers who, because of behavior problems that often stem from trauma, abuse or neglect in their home lives, can’t live with their families. The story weaves through the lives of a handful of residents such as Jayden (played by Kaitlyn Dever), who has recently lost her mother, giving us insight into the complexities faced by children who are funneled into this system. This might be an interesting opportunity to see facilities  and youth similar to those the Close to Home initiative is addressing through film. To read more of this article about the new film  and see the official trailer click here

[Video] Hanging out with NYC’s Newest Gang:

On August 27th, JJIE and SparkAction facilitated a live group video-chat featuring staff members from the the Save Our Streets Crown Heights Mediation Center in New York City — a community-based program modeled after the successful Cure Violence program in Chicago — and journalist Clay Duda – author of the article “The Art of Interrupting Deadly Youth Violence.” It was a lively conversation discussing how the program works, the importance of the youth component and what other cities and localities can learn and start from Save Our Streets Crown Heights. To check out the clip click here

In Juvenile Justice, Kids Need Protection from False Confessions

Before the dawn of DNA fingerprinting, confessions served as nearly ironclad evidence for the prosecution. But we now know that many people confess to crimes they did not commit. While they do it for a host of reasons, the pressure of plea bargaining is a common cause. Young people who are treated as adults and processed in the adult criminal system are particularly vulnerable to making false confessions, yet in many circumstances children are automatically processed in the adult system. To read suggestions on how to protect young people from false confessions while being interrogated by the police and more click here