Unaccompanied minors and their sponsors attend a legal services event in Atlanta in October. More than half of minors show up to immigration court without a lawyer, which can increase their chances of deportation.

Legal Counsel Key for Immigrant Kids

To 16-year-old Samuel, the choice to leave his home in El Salvador became very clear. “The gangs were killing my family members, and they wanted to kill me,” Samuel said in Spanish through a translator. “They wanted to cut my fingers — mine and my sisters. And that’s the reason I came.”

Pew Juvenile Recidivism Rates Map

Juvenile Recidivism Measurement Inconsistent Across States

A quarter of state-level agencies across the country do not currently collect or report juvenile recidivism data, according to a recent survey conducted by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators and the Council of State Governments.

Julie Kisaka, 29, is an extern at Clayton County Juvenile Court in Georgia. Fifteen
years ago, she stood in front of a judge herself.

Life after Juvenile Detention

Of all the birthdays Julie Kisaka remembers from her childhood, one clearly stands out among the rest. “There’s nothing worse than celebrating your 15th birthday in jail,” Kisaka said. On her birthday, Kisaka’s parents brought her a chocolate cake, and the three of them sat quietly in the detention center’s small cafeteria. Behind bars, Kisaka tasted bitterness.

Whisper app logo

Whisper, Other Anonymous Smartphone Apps Linked to Cyberbullying

Although gossip has always been a part of middle and high schools, some social media smartphone apps have been raising concerns about cyber-bullying in schools across the nation. Apps like Yik Yak, uMentioned and Whisper, which are designed to connect students on and around campus, allow users to post pictures and comments about others under the cloak of anonymity. “We see people being targeted, comments being posted about particular students or educators,” says Justin Patchin, co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center and professor of criminal justice at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. What started out as an app for college campuses to share inside jokes has trickled down to middle and high schools, where the apps have been used for cyberbullying or sexual harassment, he said. Katarina Grunden, a freshman at Grady High School in Atlanta, says she’s seen the app being used in inappropriate ways.

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Models for Juvenile Justice Schools

The Road to Success Academy is among a handful of schools across the nation that have been trying to turn the tide of poor education within juvenile justice facilities.

Mock, in front of the Chastain Park Conservancy's headquarters. About 100 youth come through his program each year to complete court-ordered community service hours.

In Georgia, a Diversion Program Profits a Community, a Park and Juvenile Offenders

In 2008, the Chastain Park Conservancy began accepting juvenile offenders, allowing them to complete their court-ordered community services hours at the conservancy. Ray Mock built relationships with a couple of parole officers and lawyers, and soon, word of mouth about his program traveled. What Mock found was a program that worked for him and his growing nonprofit, and worked for those who had gotten into trouble.