Week in Review: Child Poverty, Competency Hearings and Community-Based Treatment

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Child Poverty Rampant in Many of the Biggest U.S. Cities

Detroit Public Schools Book Depository

Thomas Hank / Flickr

Detroit has the highest level of child poverty in the nation, according to new statistics. In this 2010 photo, the Detroit Public Schools Book Depository has been abandoned since a fire in 1987. As Detroit\’s population has contracted, many schools have closed and are now shuttered and abandoned.

Child poverty increased in 35 of the biggest U.S. cities in the past eight years, and millions of children now live in families barely scraping by, a new analysis shows.

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Competency means a person has the mental capacity to understand court proceedings and assist an attorney in preparing a defense.
Oklahoma Sees New Push to Allow Juvenile Competency Hearings“Every other state in the union has juvenile competency. Oklahoma stands alone,” said Ben Brown, public defender at Oklahoma County’s juvenile division.>> Read Full Story
Report: Provide Treatment, Not More Juvenile PrisonsRather than new prisons, community-based treatment resources for juvenile delinquents are a better use of state funds according to a new report by a division of the Maryland Office of the Attorney General.>> Read Full Story

Hollywood Kids See Action with Cops
The Hollywood PAL program, one of the largest Police Activities/Athletics League programs in the Los Angeles area, gives students a positive alternative to gangs and drugs.

OP-ED: Juvenile Courts Are Losing Opportunities to Create Better Futures
This outcome isn’t inevitable. The research and training opportunities for all juvenile court practitioners have helped spread the word of better practices, which not only avoid the devastation caused by unnecessary incarceration but also offer more effective approaches that improve the well-being of youth, crime victims and communities.

OP-ED: Attorney General’s Legacy Needs Shoring Up
Eric Holder is perhaps best recognized in the youth justice category for his reinvigoration of the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Civil Rights Division, but several key initiatives still need attention.

OP-ED: To Reduce Youth Crime, Focus on Poverty
The stampede to embrace premature, exaggerated “teenage brain” speculations downplay crucial environmental contexts.

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