A young protester has a powerful message.

NY Families of Youngsters Killed by Police Want Political Reform

Family members of youngsters killed by New York City police are imploring the governor to enact a law that would create a special prosecutor to investigate such killings.

New York activists have argued for decades that the New York Police Department and the prosecutors’ offices in the five boroughs work together too closely to have them be honest arbiters in investigating police abuse.

Teens act as jurors during a session of the Red Hook Youth Court — a program that trains youth in the community to handle low-level offenses such as vandalism, assault and truancy, involving youth ages 10 to 18. The court has the ability to issue sanctions such as community service hours, workshops, letters of apology and essays.

Brooklyn Youth Justice in the Hands of Teens

The Red Hook Youth Court trains teens to serve as jurors and judges to handle real-life low-level misdemeanors committed by their peers. The all-teen jury has the power to impose sanctions such as community service hours, workshops or essays.

DeShawn Harris and Sandra Kroger

Prison Punishes Criminals’ Children, Panelists Say

NEW YORK — Sending people to prison punishes not only criminals but their families, especially their children, participants in a program on prison photography say.

“It’s not just about offenders and victims,” said documentary photographer Gabriela Bulisova during the Thursday panel discussion hosted by the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism’s Department of Visual Journalism. “Many of the people affected are children.”

Jeffrey Deskovic

Wrongfully Convicted Teen Finds New Challenges in Freedom

At the age of 16, he came under suspicion for the brutal rape and murder of his high school classmate. After being held in an interrogation room for about eight hours with no parent or attorney present, he confessed to the crime.

He was innocent.


NJ Teen Helps Decide Fate of Some Juvenile Offenders

NEW YORK — Jason Pedreros is considered an adult in the eyes of the law. But at 18, he is still a teenager who, as a volunteer on a judicial panel, is deciding the fate of fellow youths in the New Jersey county where he lives.

Pedreros serves on the Juvenile Conference Committees (JCC) in Hudson County that review charges against underage New Jersey residents and make punitive and rehabilitative recommendations to the court. There are six- to nine-member committees in each of New Jersey’s 21 counties. In addition, many municipalities have their own. His handles north Bergen, west New York and Jersey City.

Charges are first reviewed by a juvenile intake probation officer and a Hudson County prosecutor, who decides which cases get sent to committees. First- or second-time minor offenses are eligible.

Burning Down the House

Current Juvenile Justice System ‘Designed to Erode Humanity’: Author

Just as the “superpredator” label had unfairly distorted perceptions of her young newspaper staff, writer Nell Bernstein said, youth incarceration as a whole is “a system custom-designed to erode humanity.”

“Once you put someone in an orange jumpsuit and put a label like ‘offender’ or ‘delinquent’ on him or her, it’s very easy to start thinking of that person as a different kind of child,” she said.

91%: A Documentary About Guns in America by John Richie

New Orleans Filmmaker Hopes to Get the ‘91%’ Out of Movie Seats, Into Ballot Box

NEW YORK — The filmmaker could not get the number out of his head. Even while he was traveling the country to discuss “Shell Shocked” — a movie about children killing children with machine guns in the streets of his hometown New Orleans — it was a number that kept John Richie up at night.

After a classroom of children were found in a lifeless pile, shot to death by Adam Lanza in Sandy Hook, Conn., with an assortment of guns including a Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle, the country was awash in research and polling and charts about Americans and their guns.