The Best of JJIE in 2011

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This holiday season, before you are reach for the eggnog, after you rip open the presents, when you’ve finished gearing up for visits from the family and friends, take a few minutes to look over some of the best work JJIE has generated this year.

Starting tomorrow and continuing throughout the week we are posting compelling pieces that ran in 2011. These stories are rich with details about some of the most important issues dealing with youth today, from homelessness, to drug abuse, to sexuality, to juvenile crime.

They are a sampling of our best work; which means they are not only well written, they get to the heart of what we do here at the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. They, in short, are stories of young people and the challenges, heartbreaks and joys they face every day.

We strive to bring you good journalism on meaningful topics. We’ve done that in the past and we’ll keep pushing it in the future.  And that begins next week, when you’ll read some frank and honest New Year’s resolutions from a group of teens in drug court. We all hope their resolutions are obvious.  But nothing in the lives of our young people is obvious.

So it is a mistake to think that an accurate portrayal of juveniles or the juvenile justice system across the country can be accomplished by shallow stories that take a glimpse of an incident here or a problem there. The true picture of youth in our nation today will only come with a deeper engagement with them and, the people in their lives and the organizations and entities that define and better their being.

In the coming year, then, we’ll bring you data-driven stories on the effectiveness of certain detention policies, analysis of the school-to-prison-pipeline, a comprehensive look at one state’s juvenile court system, why some groups of kids are more prone to commit certain crimes as well as dozens of feature and news stories.

We can’t cover every story of every young person in this nation. But we’ll do our best to give you the most complete picture of juvenile justice as we can.

Happy Holidays.

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