Back after a brief hiatus with highlights from recent juvenile justice and justice related articles, videos and more that are worth your time.
Echoes of the Superpredator
As we now struggle to convince the masses that sentencing children as adults—even for ‘adult crimes’—is not a logical expense of young lives or taxpayer dollars, it is difficult to remember that the practice became acceptable only decades ago. If not for scholar John DiIulio Jr.’s coining of the teenage ‘superpredator’ in 1995, we may have never viewed our children as unchangeable monsters that deserve life in a cage.
The First Day of the Rest of Her Life
17 years ago, Stephanie George was sentenced to life without parole for a non-violent drug offense (a half kilo of cocaine was found in her attic—it belonged the father of one of her children). Unwilling to die behind bars, she applied for her sentence to be commuted. And hers was one of the eight cases commuted by President Obama in December. Click below to view a powerful gallery chronicling the day of her release.
Documentary Series: Last Chance High
Moses Montefiore Academy is not your ordinary school, run by extraordinary faculty. A last-chance school for kids with aggression and emotional disorders, Montefiore does the work that so many schools today will not: refusing to simply call the police when a challenging situation arises. This 8-part documentary takes an in-depth look at the profound work being done at this school.
Half of New York City Teens Behind Bars Have a Brain Injury, Study Finds
And the majority of these brain injuries were from assaults prior to the teen’s incarceration. When considering this data, it is truly appalling to think that some consider our current punitive systems to serve justice. A child who has endured brain injury in their home or community cannot be expected to face their challenges without violence, not only in the sense of conditioning, but also a cognitively. If we have the data, why can’t we put it into practice?
Bill Seeks to Stop States’ Detention of Status Offenders
Ditching school. Running away from home. Staying out past curfew. These tropes of misguided youth behavior are, under current law, grounds to incarcerate a juvenile. Yes, these acts deserve reprimand, but do they really necessitate removing a child from their known life, and nudging them towards a life in institutions? A new bill, introduced by Rep. Tony Cardenas of California, is seeking to deny judges the power to incarcerate juveniles when status offenses violate court orders.