Ideas and Opinions

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OP-ED: New Ways to Serve and Protect: Reflections of a Former Police Chief

Roy L. Juncker Jr.

In 1997, as the youngest chief of police to be elected to the city of Westwego, La.’s municipal office, I was confident in my ability to serve and protect. My previous law enforcement training and experience taught me the value of holding citizens accountable for law violations — including adolescents. Community safety was of paramount concern and the reason I was elected. Continue Reading →

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OP-ED: For Real Juvenile Justice Reform We Must Look at the Data Objectively

Jonh-Lash-4-cropped-2

We don’t always understand the world as well as we imagine, especially when it comes to the effects of public policy.This includes the crime rate and the impact of various interventions on it. Despite our lip service to data driven practices and the illusion of scientific predictability, things aren’t as clear cut as statisticians, social scientists and other public policy wonks would have us believe. Worldwide there has been an ongoing drop in crime, but no one really understands why. Here in the United States things are often unclear as well. For example, consider the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Continue Reading →

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OP-ED: Stop Sentencing Kids to Life Without Parole

Nancy_Schouweiler

Jurisdictions across the country should stop sentencing kids to spend the rest of their lives in detention. “Children are constitutionally different from adults. ... Because juveniles have diminished culpability and greater prospects for reform ... ‘they are less deserving of the most severe punishments.’”

These are the words of the U.S. Supreme Court in Miller v. Alabama, in which the Court held that mandatory sentences of life without the possibility of parole for juveniles violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishments and are therefore unconstitutional. Continue Reading →

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