NEW YORK — On a sunny school day last year, the last thing 20 teenagers seemed interested in was a yoga class. Most hadn’t even bothered changing out of their jeans, leather jackets and baseball caps. Despite appearances, one in particular was different.
John was a senior at Humanities Preparatory Academy, a small alternative public high school for students deemed at-risk, yet with the academic potential to attend college. He’s been assigned to the yoga class for the past three years.
“I thought it would just be a class of breathing, just calming the body down, that’s it,” said John, 18.
At-risk youth are those under 18 who are likely to drop out of school for a variety of reasons: substance abuse problems, a troubled home life or getting into trouble with the law. Trauma, poverty and violence often factor in as well.
“Stickup Kid” tells an ugly story. The PBS “Frontline” episode explores the world of juvenile crime, zero tolerance laws, kids in adult prisons, the psychological consequences of isolating prisoners and the ongoing challenges they face when released.
This problem is about much more than gender exclusivity in juvenile justice diversion programs. It is about the overall societal devaluation of the lives of girls, which is reflected in this country’s juvenile justice policies. And frankly, this is an act of violence.
On a street called Juniper in Atlanta is a house growing more welcoming every day to LGBTQ teens looking for a safe and restful place.
This is a project of Lost-n-Found, a nonprofit with the aim of taking this vulnerable population off the streets and into housing, permanently. With a big boost from Atlanta’s Saint Mark United Methodist Church, the grand but decaying house at 768 will be ready… soon.
Collaborative efforts around the support of at-risk youth are not altogether unusual. However, the driving impetus behind the successes we have seen in Fairfax County is the development of a partnership with law enforcement. Continue Reading →
Last week, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, introduced the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2014. The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) provides state and local government agencies with federal standards and supports for juvenile justice and delinquency prevention. Continue Reading →
NEW YORK — Residents of the Grant and Manhattanville housing projects in west Harlem have been subjected to a deadly gang rivalry spanning generations. This past June, the New York Police Department unleashed a squad of more than 500 police officers to raid the housing complexes and make arrests.
Six months later, the alleged gang members – ages 15 to 30 – wait to receive their sentences Wednesday. The NYPD maintains that arresting more than 100 potentially violent criminals in one fell swoop was a triumph.
Family, friends and neighbors wonder if this is simply a stopgap solution. Continue Reading →
Hundreds of juvenile offenders sentenced to life in prison without parole may get the chance to be resentenced as the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case on whether its own 2012 decision must be applied retroactively. Continue Reading →
By:Shawn Musgrave, Tom Meagher and Gabriel Dance |
You may have heard that the image-conscious Los Angeles Unified School District chose to return the grenade launchers it received from the Defense Department’s surplus equipment program. Continue Reading →
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. In fact, there are two: Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. And they've just delivered a big holiday present early this year to the juvenile justice field: the long-awaited update and reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA). Continue Reading →