The Two Sides of Raise the Age in New York

In April, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the members of the Commission on Youth, Public Safety and Justice, created in part to address raising the age of criminal responsibility. The commission is tasked with serving up concrete recommendations about raising the age and juvenile justice reform by December.

But with high-profile cases like Kahton Anderson’s (a 14 year old boy charged in the shooting death of a man on a public City bus this past March) making the news, public support of Raise the Age legislation isn’t unanimous.

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The Rise in Prison Inmates Released Without Supervision

Despite growing evidence and a broad consensus that the period immediately following release from prison is critical for preventing recidivism, a large and increasing number of offenders are maxing out—serving their entire sentences behind bars—and returning to their communities without supervision or support.

A new Pew report, Max Out: The Rise in Prison Inmates Released Without Supervision, found that 1 in 5 inmates maxed out in 2012, up from 1 in 7 in 1990. The report highlights variations in state max-out rates, from a high of 64 percent in Florida to less than 1 percent in Oregon, and offers a policy framework for reducing max-out rates.

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Keep Legal Protections for Kids Crossing Border, Rights Groups Say

The surge of unaccompanied youth crossing from Mexico into the United States has become a political issue, with the White House facing pressure to expedite the return of kids to their home countries.

President Obama has urged Congress to add immigration judges and detention facilities to speed up the legal process required by law.

Child welfare and immigrants’ rights groups fear the legal process could be fast-tracked and warn that many of the youth face violence at home and need a full review of their situation.

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Hawaii Enacts Broad Juvenile Justice Reform
Governor Neil Abercrombie (D) on July 2 signed a landmark package of juvenile justice policy reforms to steer lower-level offenders away from the state’s security facility and redirect much of the savings into evidence-based community supervision strategies to help reduce recidivism and help troubled youth move toward productive, law-abiding lives.

The law was passed unanimously by the Hawaii House of Representatives and Senate and is projected to reduce the population of the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility by 60 percent, saving $11 million over the next five years.

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Teens in Isolation: State Advisers to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission Hold Briefing on Juvenile Solitary Confinement in New York

Appointed in July 2013, committee members in New York chose to focus on juvenile justice within the state, looking specifically at education, solitary confinement, and the Prison Rape Elimination Act.

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Locked Up, Left Behind: Juvenile Justice System Failing Southern Youth

“The most disadvantaged, troubled students in the South and the nation attend schools in the juvenile justice systems,” the 2014 report from the Southern Education Foundation begins. The document, Just Learning: The Imperative to Transform Juvenile Justice Systems into Effective Educational Systems raises a number of questions: If so many children with educational needs are segregated or incarcerated, what will become of them and the society they will enter once they age out of the system? Are their needs being met? What can be improved?

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Changing the Odds for Boys and Men of Color

A responsible approach to criminal justice can make our communities safer, save tax dollars and help all of us, but our current system is falling terribly short — at great economic, human and moral cost. Most acutely, our juvenile and criminal justice systems present tremendous barriers to success for boys and young men of color. That’s why it is exciting to see the White House courageously joining forces with philanthropic leaders to address this issue head on.

In February of this year, President Obama launched My Brother’s Keeper, an initiative focused on fixing the persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color, including addressing racial and ethnic bias within the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems.

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