JDI Video Shows Youth that “Staying Safe Ain’t Snitching”

In New York City, youth detainees are learning about sexual abuse prevention through innovative materials that were created by JDI and its partners, including kids in detention.

Click here for the video summary: img-141017213314 and for additional articles click here

Cultivating Better Futures for Troubled Bronx Youths

They could have been locked up for offenses ranging from theft to assault to armed robbery.

Instead, they planted vegetables at an urban farm, painted a mural to honor a community activist, staged a youth talent show, organized “safe parties” for teens at a local community center – away from the gunfire and stabbings outside.

The youths came up with a smorgasbord of ways to improve their impoverished Bronx, N.Y.,  neighborhood as part of the nonprofit Community Connections for Youth’s South Bronx Community Connections (SBCC) initiative.

For the article click here and for an executive summary of a new evaluation report for this program click here: SBCC Executive Summary

Pipeline to Prison: How the juvenile justice system fails special education students

Across the country, students with emotional disabilities are three times more likely to be arrested before leaving high school than the general population.

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Brutal Crimes Don’t Justify Bad Laws

A true tragedy, driven by a media frenzy, often provokes a misguided need to do something as quickly as possible and leads to bad public policy – like California’s Three Strikes sentencing law.

Massachusetts Juvenile Judge Jay D. Blitzman got it right when he explained in 2008 why brutal crimes so often lead to bad laws. In an article for the Barry Law Review he wrote: “As the public and media react to the crime du jour, there is an unfortunate tendency to legislate by anecdote.” Stories gain momentum, get fueled in the press, and can be used for political advantage by the powers that be, and before we know it, the need for change, and in some cases, vengeance, turns too quickly into ill-conceived laws.

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N.J. juvenile detention strategy seen as model

Across New Jersey, six detention centers, including Gloucester County’s, have been shuttered in the last decade, meaning fewer jobs. At the remaining centers, which are under pressure to reduce their populations, it sometimes means there is less time available to treat juvenile offenders for drug addiction.

These are the outcomes, good and bad, of an initiative launched in 2004 – and adopted at different times since then by most counties – to keep low-level juvenile offenders out of detention centers.

New Jersey officials touted the initiative Thursday to officials from New York state, who were in Princeton for a two-day workshop on juvenile detention reform.

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Should Child Offenders Be Treated as Adults?

The government may recommend he still sit in the back seat of a car, but a 10-year-old boy can be charged as an adult for the homicide of a 90-year-old woman and potentially spend the rest of his life in prison.

Along with Somalia, the United States is one of two countries in the world that have not ratified a United Nations convention that requires countries to have a minimum age to consider a child criminally culpable. According to Amnesty International , it stands alone in sending juveniles to prison for life without the possibility of parole. In some parts of the country children are automatically charged as adults when accuse of homicide. Two recent cases have exposed ambiguities in the criminal justice system and drawn criticism from those who question whether the law should ever treat children as adults

For this NYTimes article click here