- Texans Care for Children and Texas Appleseed (both NJJN members) jointly released "Dangerous Discipline - How Texas Schools are Relying on Law Enforcement, Courts, and Juvenile Probation to Discipline Students." (Executive summary is here.) The report includes new Texas-specific data at the state level, county level, and -- where school police departments collect data -- at the school district level. Also included are policy recommendations for the Texas Legislature, state agencies and schools to address the over-reliance on police & the justice system to address behavioral issues in schools.
- The ACLU of Nevada (an NJJN member) made national news for demanding answers after a school police officer shot a student on a high school campus in December.
- A Utah task force released its recommendations to improve the youth justice system and promote better public safety outcomes. Pam Vickrey, executive director of the Utah Juvenile Defender Attorneys, NJJN's Utah member, sits on the working group.
- NJJN's member, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, released "Bring Our Children Home: Ain't I a Child?" a report finding extreme racial disparities in New Jersey's youth prisons. See related news coverage (in which Kathy Wright, alum of NJJN's Youth Justice Leadership Institute and executive director of the New Jersey Parents' Caucus, is interviewed).
- The Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance, an NJJN member, released "Think Outside The Walls: Race and Incarceration in Juvenile Justice."
- Our Tennessee member, Just City Memphis, delivered 80 sweatshirts to yourh in the Memphis youth detention facility after receiving reports the kids were freezing inside the facility ...
- Amir Whitaker, of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Florida office, an NJJN member, was featured in "The Long-Term Costs Of Fining Juvenile Offenders," by Eric Markowitz, The New Yorker, December 24, 2016.
- The California Alliance for Youth and Community Justice (one of NJJN's members in that state) published a three-year summary of the legislative reform victories it has championed from 2014 through 2016. The Alliance's publication, "Treat Kids as Kids" (from October 2014) was cited in "Movement to End Juvenile Solitary Confinement Gains Ground, But Hundreds of Kids Remain in Isolation," by Mary Read, SolitaryWatch.com, January 5, 2017.
- Ricky Watson, co-director of the Youth Justice Project at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice (NJJN's North Carolina member) and a current fellow in NJJN's Youth Justice Leadership Institute, is quoted in this piece, "NC May Be Closer to "Raising the Age," by Stephanie Carson, Public News Service,Dec. 28, 2016. Watson also published a letter to the editor, " Solitary impacts teens long-term," Charlotte Observer, Jan. 5, 2017.
- Kansans United for Youth Justice (which Kansas Appleseed, an NJJN member, helped to organize) published, "Kansas Juvenile Justice: Reform Handbook 2017."
Youth Justice Reform News
- President Obama published commentary in the Harvard Law Review, titled, "The President's Role in Advancing Criminal Justice Reform."
- The U.S. Department of Justice entered into an agreement to reform the family court of St. Louis County, Missouri. See the press release, settlement agreement and juvenile justice fact sheet.
U.S. Department of Justice Reaches Agreement with City Of Baltimore to Reform Police Department’s Unconstitutional Practices. Included is the provision that Baltimore conduct "an assessment to minimize youth involvement with the juvenile and criminal justice systems, as appropriate, and that officers approach interactions with youth in a manner appropriate to their age.
- The U.S. Department of Justice issued critical guidance on the use of costs, fines and fees for youth in the juvenile justice system. This development follows the release of Juvenile Law Center’s publication of a national report on the widespread abuse of costs, fines and fees in the juvenile justice system.
- "A Path Out of Trouble: How one state supports its teenagers while a neighboring state punishes them," by Rebecca Klein and Kyle Spencer, The Huffington Post/The Hechinger Report, December 15, 2016.
- An editorial board in Maine came out against youth prisons in "Our Opinion: Maine should lead on closing youth prisons," CentralMaine.com, Dec. 18, 2016.
- "Rare look at youth post detention is bleak: racial and ethnic disparities central to poor outcomes following juvenile detention." by Hilary Hurd Anyaso, Northwestern Now, Dec. 19, 2016. From the article: "A new Northwestern Medicine study offers a bleak assessment in a rare look at the outcomes of delinquent youth five and 12 years after juvenile detention. Central to poor outcomes for the youth post detention are stark and persistent racial, ethnic and gender disparities, according to the massive study that began in the mid-1990s."
From our Ohio member, the Juvenile Justice Coalition (JJC): "On December 22nd, the Ohio Supreme Court issued two opinions on Ohio youth in adult court. In State v. Aalim, the Court found that Ohio's mandatory bindover laws, which allow 16 and 17 year olds charged with certain crimes to be directly transferred to adult court, are unconstitutional. Now all bindovers of youth to adult court must include an individualized hearing that allows a juvenile court judge to consider the unique circumstances of each case. JJC signed an amicus brief in the Aalim case.
"In State v. Moore, the Court found that youth sentenced to adult court in non-homicide offenses cannot be given a sentence that would allow them to die in prison. Under Moore, youth would have to receive a sentence that allows them a meaningful chance of parole
" A New Missouri Law Could Give Kids Serious Criminal Records For School Fights, Schools Say," by Rebecca Klein, The Huffington Post, Dec. 23, 2016. See also this letter to the editor from Brittini Gray, "Criminalizing School Fights is Not the Answer," Dec. 23, 2016.
Publications and Resources
The ACLU of Pennsylvania has launched EndZeroTolerance.org, an extensive and up-to-date resource on the school to prison pipeline. Selected features include a Q and A on school discipline and policing; a guide to how to obtain and use data, plus links to summaries of recent trends; and special sections for educators and for advocates on how to implement reforms.
A new documentary from the Center for Public Integrity and Retro Report traces history of policing in schools (12 minutes).
Opportunities & Events
Deadline Jan. 20 -- The Annie E. Casey Foundation seeks applications for its Juvenile Justice Youth Advisory Council. The linked post includes links to a description of the council and the application.
January 26, 2017, 2pm EST - "Intersecting Identities: Improving Health Outcomes for LGBTQI2-S Youth of Color" - an interactive webisode in which a panel of experts will share evidence-based strategies for helping LGBTQI2-S (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersex, Two-Spirit) youth of color. The panel will discuss some issues affecting LGBTQI2-S youth of color and share ways to help providers, afterschool program facilitators, families, and youth understand the intersection of identities and the challenges associated with trauma, suicide, and resilience.
Participants will learn strategies to address behavioral health challenges and facilitate healing among children, youth, and families. State and local community leaders, health care providers, child- and youth-serving agencies, schools, LGBTQI2-S supporting organizations, and caregivers are encouraged to watch and participate in the webisode.
Participate here: http://bit.ly/KSOCTVYoC. Join the live Q&A by tweeting questions using the hashtag #KSOCTV. Be sure to share with your social networks and spread the word!
- Due Feb. 17, 2017 - Workshop proposals for the 2017 CJJ Annual Conference, titled, "Access, Accountability, & Advocacy: Addressing Educational, Physical, and Mental Health Needs in the Juvenile Justice System," which will take place on June 14-17 at the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC. More info here.