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Pipeline to Prison: How the Juvenile Justice System Fails Special Education Students

Toney Jennings and Cornelia Glenn

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. Continue Reading →

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Pipeline to Prison: Special Education Too Often Leads to Jail for Thousands of American Children

Cody Beck

Cody Beck was 12 years old when he was handcuffed in front of several classmates and put in the back of a police car outside Grenada Middle School. Cody had lost his temper in an argument with another student, and hit several teachers when they tried to intervene. He was taken to the local youth court and then sent to a mental health facility two hours away from his home. Twelve days later, the sixth-grader was released from the facility and charged with three counts of assault.

Cody is one of thousands of children caught up in the juvenile justice system each year. Across the country, students with emotional disabilities are three times more likely to be arrested before leaving high school than the general population. Continue Reading →

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‘We Charge Genocide’ Issues Damning Report on Abuse and Brutality in Chicago

Abuse and Brutality in Chicago

Page May had only one word for it: torture. That was how she and others with the new activist group We Charge Genocide are classifying police brutality in Chicago in a report compiled for the United Nations Committee Against Torture, the findings of which were presented this week before a crowded room of activists at the Jane Adams Hull House. Continue Reading →

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Cultivating Better Futures for Troubled Bronx Youths

A youth works on the soil of the urban farm at Brook Park in the south Bronx.

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 →

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Week in Review: Pleas for Asylum, Interviews with Inmates


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 →

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