Highlights from the week’s juvenile justice and justice related articles, videos and more that are worth your time.
OP-ED: Cops and Community, How to Repair a Broken Relationship
When youth and cops interact, all too often they seem like a different species to the other, so completely foreign to their ways of thinking, dress, and relationships. This insightful article comes from a former system-involved youth, proposing ways to generate understanding between law enforcement and kids. Reading his suggestions, you wonder: why AREN’T cops mandated to get involved in the community beyond their patrols?
How Race Skews Prosecutions
Many people don’t believe race affects our life outcomes anymore because there are few explicit, racially-motivated hate crimes in our headlines today. But what they don’t see are the myriad discrete layers of institutional racism that amount to a major disadvantage for people of color, especially in our justice systems. New York DA Cyrus Vance Jr. called for an investigation into the racial biases of his office, and illuminated one layer of racism as it exists today.
Rikers: Where Mental Illness Meets Brutality in Jail
This article is a must read, but a difficult one. Investigations this in-depth, revealing realities this horrific, can send your mind into a whirlwind of anger and discomfort. You know that this information was extremely difficult to collect, and that it speaks to intolerable conditions that need immediate action. Even worse, you know that hundreds of facilities will never be investigated on this level or what atrocities they might reveal.
READ MORE: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/14/nyregion/rikers-study-finds-prisoners-injured-by-employees.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=LargeMediaHeadlineSum&module=photo-spot-region®ion=photo-spot&WT.nav=photo-spot&_r=0&assetType=nyt_now&assetType=nyt_now
By Talking, Inmates and Victims Make Things ‘More Right’
It’s a strange paradox: isolating ‘dangerous’ people from the community makes us feel safer, but in reality fosters more crime and distrust through this exclusion. When victims and inmates are brave enough to talk through their experiences face-to-face, though, recidivism goes down—while understanding and dignity surge. In Massachusetts they have been introducing the practice to adult inmates; how it transformed some of the inmates may surprise you.
D.C. Bill Would Ban School Suspensions For City’s Pre-K Students
Yes. Pre-K. It may come as a shock that kids so young would ever be suspended; toddlers are loud, messy, and generally difficult to manage by nature. But after we digest the fact that Pre-K suspensions happen, the silver lining of this story emerges. Banning suspensions, even for the very young, shows a commitment to children—even with the bar set so low. Maybe this could develop into a trend extending to older kids. Who knows?