Highlights from the week’s juvenile justice and justice related articles, videos and more that are worth your time.
How Solitary Confinement Hurts the Teenage Brain
We’ve heard from the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture that it’s cruel and unusual. We’ve heard from neurologists how it stifles brain growth. We’ve even seen youth who were in solitary when Richard Ross photographed and interviewed them. Who we haven’t heard from, though, is an adult dealing with the effects of isolation experienced as a youth. That is, until now.
READ MORE: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/06/how-solitary-confinement-hurts-the-teenage-brain/373002/?utm_source=Copy+of+Weekly+News+Roundup+7%2F4%2F2014&utm_campaign=WNR6-14-2013&utm_medium=email
Restorative Justice: The Transformative Power of an Alternative
Restorative justice starts with viewing criminal or delinquent acts as “a violation of relationships rather than a violation of laws or rules,” which makes sense, right? After all, we put laws in place to prevent from acting in ways that negatively affect others—don’t we? If we shift our perspective towards the interpersonal affects of crime and delinquency, punishment emerges as the one-sided and ineffective practice it is.
For Young Offenders, a New Confidence Game
In Brooklyn, kids serving time are being taught an unlikely skill: magic. Some are quick to judge, assuming the kids will use the art of deception for more sophisticated criminal behavior. But when the kids are both learning and practicing their new skills they are totally engaged—a rare accomplishment in juvenile correctional settings. They are trying to expand the program to all non-secure facilities in the area, and have an Indiegogo campaign you can donate to if you want to support the Hocus Pocus Project!
‘Jane’ Didn’t Get the Help She Needed
The story of a transgender teen referred to as ‘Jane Doe’ has been rocking the headlines for weeks now, bringing issues for transgender teens in both the child welfare and justice system to light. Her story is nothing short of horrific, and has (in my opinion) raised public awareness of just how many injustices can occur one child’s life before they find themselves in a detention facility. While they are now looking for a foster family for Jane, we know from our own interviews with youth that these stories are frighteningly more common than anyone wants to believe, and we need all hands on deck to prevent more children from experiencing the trauma and alienation Jane has.
In Prisons, Sky-High Phone Rates and Money Transfer Fees
When it comes down to it, alienation and dehumanization are the cornerstones of our prison system. One way this is carried out is getting quite a buzz as of late: phone rates and money transfer fees. As these costs rise, they place challenges before prisoners and their families in maintaining a lifeline to the real world or obtaining seemingly trivial creature comforts. The motivation for these monumental rates and fees? Profit of course, both for private investors and local jurisdictions.
California’s ‘Ban the Box’ Law Could Aid 7 Million Job Seekers
A new California law went into practice this week prohibiting employers from asking about potential employees’ criminal records in the earliest stages of the application process. With one in four California residents having a criminal background, it is about time we not only acknowledge that former offenders can be valuable members of the workforce, but that the insane size of our prison system demands we remove the stigma in our hiring practices.