Home News Center Youth Justice Reform Roundup | September 25, 2014

Youth Justice Reform Roundup | September 25, 2014

September 24, 2014
Zoe Schein

  • Great news: earlier this month, the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Miller vs. Alabama must be applied retroactively. This means that people who were sentenced to mandatory life without parole for crimes committed as children are eligible for relief and resentencing, including those who were sentenced before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 25, 2012 that it is unconstitutional to impose such sentences upon children. New Hampshire is the seventh state to decide that Miller must be applied retroactively, joining Iowa, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Texas, Illinois and Nebraska.

  • Texas Appleseed, an NJJN member, recently co-authored a letter calling for an end to the Department of Defense program that would transfer military-grade weapons to local school districts and police departments for use in public schools grades K-12. The letter was co-signed by twenty children's rights and youth justice reform organizations, including NJJN. Read Texas Appleseed's full response to this appalling practice here.

  • The Youth Justice Coalition (CA), an NJJN member, recently published a report documenting the 589 deaths that have occurred in Los Angeles County since 2000 as a result of police force. The report breaks down the demographics of those killed, as well as the circumstances of their deaths, and makes clear and concrete policy recommendations to reduce lethal police violence in Los Angeles County. Read the full report, "Don't Shoot To Kill: Homicides Resulting from Law Enforcement Use of Force in LA County 2000-2014," or find a full list of those killed, along with demographic details, here

  • The Campaign for Youth Justice (an NJJN partner) released a report earlier this month titled, "State Trends: Updates from the 2013-2014 Legislative Session." The report details legislative advocates' efforts across the country to decrease the number of youth in the adult justice system. Download the report here.
  • The Soros Justice Fellowship, a grant given annually by the Open Society Foundations is accepting applications until October 22, 2014. The Soros Fellowship annually funds 14-18 outstanding individuals to undertake projects that advance system reform, spur debate, and catalyze change on issues facing the U.S. criminal justice system. The fellowship particularly targets advocates, activists, journalists, researchers, "and others with distinctive and important voices" on criminal justice issues. To learn more, visit the Soros Justice Fellowship's homepage here, or e-mail sorosjusticefellowships@opensocietyfoundations.org. 

  • The National Academy of Sciences has recently made the full text of its immensely important report, "Reforming Juvenile Justice: A Developmental Approach," available for download. Among other things, the report makes plain the results of numerous empirical studies that show adolescence to be a period in life developmentally characterized by risk-taking and susceptibility to peer influence. This information marks important differences between adolescents and adults, differences which the justice system all-too-frequently fails to account for.The report also talks in detail about the federal role in juvenile justice reform. Download the full report here

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