Assembly panel explores a criminal-age change

At an Assembly panel on Friday to discuss legislation to raise the state’s age of criminal responsibility, Assemblyman Joe Lentol posed the toughest question to the bill’s supporters.

“How do we get the Senate to pass this bill?” asked Lentol, a Democrat from North Brooklyn, who led the hearing in New York City. To read more click here

OP-ED: In Juvenile Justice, the Positive Consequences of Fiscal Realities

The tough on crime policies born in the 90s have run smack into the fiscal realities of the recession, with some surprisingly positive consequences for juvenile justice reform. To read more click here

Impasse on Justice Reform for Young Defendants

Competing bills and lack of consensus cloud prospects for raising the age at which accused teens must be tried as adults. To read more click here

Science of Adolescent Development Continues to Inform Juvenile Justice System

Over the past decade, state and local jurisdictions have been actively developing strategies to reduce both recidivism and spending in their juvenile justice systems. To help accomplish these goals, juvenile justice leaders are examining and applying research and recommendations outlined in Reforming Juvenile Justice: A Developmental Approach, a seminal report released by the National Research Council in 2012. To read a summary of this report click here

OP-ED: Law Enforcement Working to Enhance Response to Juveniles

International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)has developed a multi‐year initiative entitled Law Enforcement’s Leadership Role in the Advancement of Promising Practices in Juvenile Justicewith the goal of increasing the leadership role of state and local law enforcement executives to address systemic juvenile justice issues as well as improve local responses to youthful offenders.

The IACP initiative focuses on the potential for police leaders to have a stronger role in juvenile justice system issues and brings up-to-date information and resources to the field of law enforcement, accelerating progress toward more successful outcomes for youth, families and communities. To read more click here

Rethinking Juvenile Justice

Approximately 343,000 teens are arrested each year for drug and alcohol related crimes; 1.8 million teens need treatment for substance abuse while only 1 in 16 receive it. Dan Merrigan, Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at Boston University, covers what he believes should happen to positively change the above facts in his recent article “Rethinking Juvenile Justice.” To read the article click here

Black Girls Disproportionately Confined; Struggle for Dignity in Juvenile Court SchoolsImage

Nationwide, African-American girls continue to be disproportionately over-represented among girls in confinement and court-ordered residential placements. They are also significantly over-represented among girls who experience exclusionary discipline, such as out-of-school suspensions, expulsions, and other punishment.

While academic underperformance and zero tolerance policies are certainly critical components of pathways to confinement, a closer examination reveals that Black girls may also be criminalized for qualities long associated with their survival. For example, being “loud” or “defiant” are infractions potentially leading to subjective reprimanding or exclusionary discipline. But historically, these characteristics can exemplify their responses to the effects of racism, sexism, and classism.

This author conducted an exploratory, phenomenological, action research study that examined the self-identified, educational experiences of Northern California’s Black girls in confinement using in-depth interviews and descriptive data analysis, among other research activities. To read highlights from the study click here

State’s Juvenile Incarceration Rate Plummets: Report

Connecticut is one of nine states recognized in a new national report for significantly reducing youth incarceration rates since 2001 – a drop attributed to new policies and expanded community alternatives to detention.

The report by the National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) and the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Effective Justice found that Connecticut had 252 youths confined in 2011 – a drop of 60 percent from 2001 and one of the highest reduction rates in the country. To read this article click here and to access the report click here

Confronting Bias in the Juvenile Justice System

In the ABC News video, the white youth and the black youth both appear to be trying to do the same thing: steal a bike in broad daylight in a community park. But the two actors playing thieves, both filmed by hidden cameras at different times, get decidedly different reactions from passers-by. The video illustrates bias perhaps better than a stack of studies could do, and it led to spirited discussion Tuesday at a workshop on confronting racial and ethnic bias in the juvenile justice system at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s eighth annual Models for Change National Working Conference.

You can watch the video here and read more of this article here

De Blasio Announces Head of Children’s Services

New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has appointed a state official who has worked to overhaul the juvenile justice system as the commissioner of the Administration for Children’s Services. Carrion most recently has been working as the commissioner for the state Office of Children and Family Services. In that role, she’s pushed a plan that puts juveniles in community programs instead of detention centers. To read more click here