Childhood Trauma Threatens National Well-Being: DOJ Task Force

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Two out of three children in the United States experience or witness violence, crime or abuse while growing up, a public health crisis that harms their emotional, physical and intellectual development and makes them more likely to perpetrate the same trauma upon their own children, a national task force appointed by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said this week. The long-term well-being of the country is at stake unless federal and local governments and their communities act to reduce the incidence and impact of such trauma upon young Americans, the National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence concluded in its final report. The report detailed 56 policy recommendations for reducing such exposure to trauma and treating its fallout. Such exposure could occur anywhere, the report said: at home, at school, in the community and on the Internet. “There is a moral component to this question,” Holder said at a public meeting of the federal interagency Coordinating Council for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, which approved the report’s release.

Justice Department Expands Youth Violence Prevention Program

WASHINGTON - U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced this week that the Justice Department will expand to 10 – from six – the number of cities participating in the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention. The planned expansion comes as the original participants continue to struggle through breaking down walls among government agencies and with community-based groups. The National Forum, established 18 months ago, is designed to allow the cities involved to fashion their individual crime prevention programs that emphasize more comprehensive approaches across government agencies. An initial evaluation by Temple University and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York found that all six cities showed some “positive indicators” of the initiative but there were no “profound perceptions” among local residents of a reduction in juvenile violence. Representatives of the six cities – Chicago, Boston, Detroit, Memphis and Salinas and San Jose, Calif.

UPDATE: Trayvon Martin’s Parents Want Their Son’s Killer Arrested for Murder, Dismiss Self-Defense Claims

[UPDATE, March 23, 2012:] President Obama today waded into the growing national controversy surrounding the death of Trayvon Martin, commenting, "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon," the The New York Times reported. Obama dodged questions about whether George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot Martin, should be arrested for the killing, saying he didn't want to impede any possible investigation by the U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder. At a rally Thursday in Sanford, Fl., the orlando suburb where Martin lived, Rev. Al Sharpton, with Martin's parents at his side, called the case a civil rights issue, according to an Associated Press report. "We cannot allow a precedent when a man can just kill one of us ... and then walk out with the murder weapon," Sharpton said.

May 06, 2011

Read up:

Governor Deal (GA) signs Human Trafficking bill into law:
http://bit.ly/k5dzBP

OJJDP census of kids on probation:
http://bit.ly/kidsonprobi

CDC teen pregnancy stats 1991-2009 [infographic]:
http://bit.ly/preginfo

Justice Department report sheds light on human trafficking stats:
http://bit.ly/traffstats

Youth Justice Barbecue celebrates year of progress:
http://bit.ly/voxbbq

Host: Ryan Schill
Video: Clay Duda

Census of Kids on Probation

The latest census by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention offers insight into the number of kids nationwide and in the south who are on probation for various crimes. The number of kids in the southern states make up more than a fourth of the crimes. The southern states include: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia as well as the District of Columbia.

Cutting the Federal Budget Could have Broad Impact on Georgia Police and Sheriffs

With Congress in deficit reduction mode, large crime fighting grants that Georgia depends on could be on the chopping block.  The National Criminal Justice Association is following the proposals, and one plan with dramatic implications comes from the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C.  This prominent group recommends eliminating  “all Justice Department grants except those from the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Institute of Justice, thereby empowering states to finance their own justice programs” for an annual savings of $7.3 billion.”

If the Bureau of Justice Assistance is eliminated, for example, Georgia could lose close to $14 million in federal grants annually, including $4.7 million that goes directly to police and sheriff departments across the state. And that's just one program in jeopardy

Here’s a list of some of the other nationside safety, youth development and education programs the Heritage Foundation wants to cut. The list and the language is from Heritage.org:

$298million  Eliminate state grants for Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities. $7.3 billion   Eliminate all Justice Department grants except those from the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Institute of Justice, thereby empowering states to finance their own justice programs.
$30 million    Eliminate the duplicative Office of National Drug Control Policy. $26 million    Reduce funding for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division by 20 percent because of its policy against race-neutral enforcement of the law.

Feds Force States to Include Child Sex Offenders on National Registry

States have until July to pass legislation that requires juveniles to be included on the sex offender registry database. The Sex Offender Registry Notification Act (SORNA), part of the Adam Walsh Act, requires states to register kids and teens, but gives states control on how many and which juveniles are included, according to Youth Today. So far, Florida, Ohio, South Dakota and Delaware are the only states currently in compliance with SORNA. If the other 46 do not comply, they will lose a portion of the Justice Department’s Byrne Grant, which supplies criminal justice systems with millions of dollars. Attorney General Eric Holder has pushed the deadline back twice now, causing frustration among supporters of SORNA.

Ken Trump: Federal Bullying Police Coming to a School Near You

“We’re the federal government, and we’re here to  help investigate you.”

The Education and Justice Departments are now taking on investigatory and prosecutorial roles against school districts on bullying and harassment cases.  Historically their roles have centered on research, along with funding prevention and intervention programs on these issues. The U.S. Department of Education and its Office of Civil Rights reaffirmed last week it would be “vigorously” investigating local school districts on complaints against the districts related to bullying and harassment. The Department’s statement followed up on presentations made by Education Department officials at their “bullying summit” two weeks ago where they announced they would be “proactively investigating” schools on bullying complaints. Last week the Justice Department entered the fray by filing an “amicus curiae” or “friend of the court” motion in a federal discrimination lawsuit against the Indian River Central School District in New York.  The case involves claims of discrimination (based on sex) by the school district in connection with harassment, physical assaults, and threats against a gay former student.  The suit reportedly claims the district refused to help him and refused to allow him to form a Gay-Straight Alliance at the high school. According to the news report, the lawsuit was brought by Lambda Legal, a national organization that defends the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.