The Los Angeles County Office of Education boasts that scores of young people who were at risk of dropping out of high school get their high school diplomas or their GED credentials while they’re in LA County’s juvenile probation camps each year. It’s a monumental and pivotal moment for students who often have fallen behind in school and so might not expect such an accomplishment.
Should youth incarcerated in California juvenile halls and camps be entitled to new underwear? Should family and friends be assured that their visits to youth in detention facilities be in person rather than through video screens? Should these youth be guaranteed more time outdoors for exercise and fresh air?
They arrived sharing the same goal of closing youth prisons, the same desire to address the racial and social disparities they see daily and the same belief that rehabilitating youth is always smarter and more moral than locking them away.
Journalist Daryl M. Khan is suing New York state court officers on charges of false arrest and malicious prosecution. His complaint charges that the officers arrested, handcuffed and detained him while he was in the hallway of a courthouse and taking a 28-second video on his cellphone.
Texas state Rep. Gene Wu is getting frustrated. Legislatures around the country are voting to treat 17-year-old offenders as juveniles while his own state remains in a shrinking — and he says wrongheaded — club that charges them as adults, no matter the crime. Neighboring Louisiana acted last year, as did South Carolina, leaving just seven states nationwide that still prosecute all youth under 18 as adults.
The director of the Annie E. Casey Foundation's* Juvenile Justice Strategy Group sounded an alarm Monday about a slowing of progress and an increase in the length of time youth are being incarcerated in some of the 300 sites of the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative.
Last week, a group of California-based foundations announced a $1.3 million investment into non-profit community-based organizations in 11 of the state’s counties, including Los Angeles, through the Positive Youth Justice Initiative.
And then there was one. New York State legislators voted Sunday night to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 18, capping a contentious budget fight and giving supporters of the measure victory after years of frustration. The vote leaves North Carolina as the only state which still prosecutes 16- and 17-year-olds as adults, although that may change later this month.