There has been a troubling shift in the nation’s responses to at-risk youth over the past 25 years. The creators of the juvenile justice system originally viewed it as a system for providing prevention, protection, and redirection to youth, but it is more common for juveniles today to experience tough sanctions and adult-type punishments instead. While reforms are underway in many places, there remains an urgent need to reframe our responses to juvenile delinquency.
Juvenile Justice News
July 1, 2015
State Advocacy Update: Alabama and Texas Address Lifetime Federal Public Benefits Ban
Efforts to reinstate federal ban in other states: Pennsylvana, Missouri, and Maine
Other news: Alaska, Illinois, Michigan, New York, and Virginia
In recent months there has been legislative reform to modify the federal food stamp ban in states like Alabama and Texas. In 1996, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) imposed a lifetime denial of federal benefits for cash and food assistance to people convicted in state or federal courts of felony drug offenses; the ban is imposed for no other offenses but drug crimes. States can opt out of the federal ban or modify it by authorizing legislative reform. States that have not authorized a legislative remedy include Alaska, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming. During 2014, Missouri modified the federal ban and California opted out of the full ban.
June 16, 2015 (The Sentencing Project)
The time is now to raise the age of criminal responsibility
In an open letter hand-delivered to Albany, The Sentencing Project and sixty other organizations, including international human rights groups, social workers, faith-based organizations, criminal justice reform groups, and children's advocates, strongly urged the passage of Raise the Age legislation in New York before the session ends this week.
Currently, New York remains one of only two states that still prosecute all 16- and 17-year-olds in the justice system as adults. New York also houses 16- and 17-year-olds in adult jails and prisons, where they are at grave risk of suicide, rape, and physical abuse, and often do not receive appropriate services.
With days remaining until the 2015 legislative session ends, it is imperative that there be no further delay in raising the age. The letter describes the horrific risks faced by youth incarcerated as adults, the collateral consequences of prosecuting children as adults, and evidence from other states that raising the age has proven to increase public safety.
June 1, 2015
State Advocacy Update: Grassroots Strategy to Address Mass Incarceration
Reinforcing broad support to address mass incarceration has been a priority for several state advocacy organizations. This year, grassroots organizations in California, Maryland, and North Carolina organized lobby days in support of policy goals to scale back harsh criminal justice practices.
May 18, 2015
Race & Justice News: Why Are 1.5 Million Black Men "Missing"?
Policing: Over one quarter of police officers are people of color
Connecticut study identifies racial disparities in traffic stops
Reforms: Justice Department faces challenges in ensuring constitutional policing
Incarceration: "Missing" black men due to high incarceration and mortality rates
Fines and fees: States suspend driver's licenses over court-related debt
School discipline: Virginia schools top the nation in sending students to law enforcement
May 8, 2015 (The Sentencing Project)
New Data: Population at Youth Facilities Cut in Half Since 1999
New data show that youth detention is at a historic low, but racial disparities persist.