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An Appeal for Access to College Education in Prison

The New York Times printed an Op-Ed by inmate, John J. Lennon where he argues that wide spread access to massive open online courses in prisons will give prisoners a more productive way of using their time, a way to educate themselves and feel more connected. To read more, click here.

 

Children of the Incarcerated

A young person is more likely to become court involved if one of their parents has been incarcerated. Watch the short video below from Inside Out with Susan Modaress on children with incarcerated parents.

 

Ensuring the Health and Wellness of Youth in Juvenile Facilities

The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) of 2003 was created to combat sexual violence in correctional institutions, including jails, prisons, lockups, and in juvenile institutions. However, in 2013 9.5% of youth nationwide experienced sexual victimization; 7.7% reported an incident involving facility staff; 2.5% of youth reported an incident involving another youth; 0.7% of youth reported victimization by both staff and another youth. (BJS, 2013). See this article to read more about how to build a culture of zero-tolerance against sexual misconduct in juvenile facilities.

 

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Widespread Incarceration of Youth for Status Offenses

Despite the stipulation that no child should be locked up for minor transgressions in the Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) in states receiving federal juvenile justice grants, many juveniles are still arrested for status offenses. More than half of U.S. states allow children to be detained for repeated nonviolent “status offenses” such as skipping school, running away from home or possession of alcohol. To read more about this new report by the Washington-based Coalition for Juvenile Justice, click here.

 

Responses to ‘Raise the Age’

Despite supporting proposals to raise the age of criminal responsibility, New York legislators fear the financial realities of passing this legislation. This Binghamton-based newspaper argues that the county’s probation department will have to increase staff in order to handle the influx of people who will be referred to probation for felonies and misdemeanors. Buffalo native and former juvenile offender, Keith Jones discusses the benefits of giving teen offenders more opportunities for community-based rehabilitation as opposed to incarceration. To read more, see here.

 

Juvenile Justice in America

This article provides a brief history of the juvenile court system in America. The author states that today the United States is an international outlier in the severity of its juvenile sentencing practices. Huffington Post published another article passionately advocating for juvenile justice policy that “acknowledges that while some kids may indeed need a period of secure care and rehabilitation, our current reliance on youth prisons is a national disgrace: expensive, ineffective, inhumane and contrary to our deeply held beliefs about the fundamental value and potential of each and every child.” To read more, click here. This Annie E. Casey Foundation video “Decisions,” depicts relatable situations which highlight many of the practices in the article that mirror real events in countless communities every day faced by young people.

 

Youth Transition Funders Group Learn From European Juvenile Justice 

Diane Sierpina wrote about her experience in early March with other New York City criminal and juvenile justice officials who visited London to learn how the justice system in the United Kingdom treats juveniles and young adults up to age 25. She states that from her trip she gained “an awareness that we Americans could do things a whole lot better if there is a will.” To read more about juvenile justice practice in the U.K and other lessons learned from this trip, click here.

 

U.S Prison Population Trends

A new analysis by The Sentencing Project reveals broad variation in nationwide incarceration trends.The total U.S. prison population declined by 2.4% since 2009. Five of the states with rising prison populations have experienced double-digit increases, led by Arkansas, with a 17% rise since 2008. New York has decreased its prison population by 29% since 2008 – the greatest reduction of all the states. To learn more, click here.

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