By:Jackie Mader and Sarah Butrymowicz, The Hechinger Report |
CALEDONIA, Miss. — Toney Jennings was illiterate when he was arrested at age 16. In the six months he spent at the Lowndes County Jail in eastern Mississippi, he says he played basketball, watched TV and “basically just stayed to myself.”
A special education student, Jennings qualified for extra help in school. Those services should have carried over to the justice system, but Jennings said he never even attended class while in jail. Now 20, he is still unable to read or write.
When we turned justice reinvestment into a rallying cry, did we really believe it was as simple as flipping a switch, and moving the money from expensive juvenile corrections facilities to the community? Did we really think that money would flow forever?
While many university students were concerned about parking or trying to avoid long lines to get their books, Jalyn was trying to find a place to live. She and her family have been homeless since the summer of 2012. Some days she is able to eat twice a day, others only once. Her financial aid was put on hold because she has not been able to confirm a home address in Georgia.
In a sobering decision, the Illinois Supreme Court recently upheld the automatic adult prosecution of a 15-year-old who was living in a state residential home due to long-standing neglect by his family. Continue Reading →
They could have been locked up for offenses ranging from theft to assault to armed robbery.
Instead, they planted vegetables at an urban farm, painted a mural to honor a community activist, staged a youth talent show, organized “safe parties” for teens at a local community center – away from the gunfire and stabbings outside. Continue Reading →
This week in juvenile justice: "If you lock people up and don’t teach them something, it’s a lose/lose situation." — "There were things going on at Rikers that were pretty horrific, and one of them was the conditions in the adolescent jail." — Collateral consequence laws do not provide definitive results. And more ... Continue Reading →
Because we work from the desire to create more just and less alienating ways of interacting, we often find ourselves worrying about our overall impact in complex situations. Above all we wish to avoid doing further harm, but that isn’t always easy to determine. Continue Reading →
Even when adult or juvenile inmates are freed, many remain shackled by laws that make it difficult for them to get welfare, vote, obtain a drivers license and find stable housing and employment. These laws are called collateral consequence laws — formal restrictions on a person following their conviction. Continue Reading →
"There were things going on at Rikers that were pretty horrific, and one of them was the conditions in the adolescent jail. ... it’s so difficult to get access to jails and prison systems that often the voices of the folks most directly impacted are left out of the public debate." Continue Reading →