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Aid Scarce for Immigrant Children in South Texas

A Hidalgo county constable gives water to a boy crossing the border with two other immigrants as they wait for the U.S. Border Patrol to arrive in August near Granjeno.

Nearly 63,000 unaccompanied children — mostly from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador — crossed into the United States between Oct. 1 and July 31 without prior permission, according to government data released early in August. Another nearly 63,000 people crossed with family members. The numbers represent an increase of nearly triple over the same period last year.

Under federal law, children from countries other than Mexico and Canada, and any family members traveling with them, are allowed to stay in the country temporarily until an immigration judge can assign them a more permanent status. ... Continue Reading →

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‘15 to Life’ Chronicles Quest for Release of Man Sentenced to Life at Age 15

Kenneth Young at his resentencing hearing, with his mother and niece in the background.

A riveting new PBS documentary, "15 to Life: Kenneth's Story," traces one young man's quest for release from prison after he was sentenced to four consecutive life terms without parole. JJIE speaks with the documentary's director, Nadine Pequeneza, about the making of the film, Kenneth Young's case and how his experience is emblematic of a juvenile justice system struggling to find a balance among rehabilitation, modern behavioral science and the United States' "tough-on-crime" culture. Young is just one of the more than 2,500 people convicted as a juvenile that are now serving life sentences in the United States. Continue Reading →

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Evidence-Based ‘Gold Standard’: Coveted, Yet Controversial


It seemed a throwback to the days of the country doctor: Go to the patients instead of having them come to you. As a young intern in the pediatrics department at the University of Virginia’s medical school in the mid-1970s, Scott Henggeler got that advice from his supervisor, a social worker on staff. He heeded it, taking the department’s van out for house calls into the natural beauty of the Shenandoah Valley in the Charlottesville area and soon had an epiphany about the folly of trying to treat some of the most troubled youngsters in an office setting. “I visited probably about six, seven homes, and in each case, all it really took was to just set foot inside the door and you realized how goofy your academic treatment plan was,” Henggeler told JJIE. “Doing the home-based stuff just removed the barriers, really removed most of the barriers and helped you better engage with the families, but also very importantly, you got much more accurate assessment data. Continue Reading →

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