marijuana: young guy smoking a rolled joint

Myths About Marijuana Use Among Public Need to Be Dispelled

As the United States grapples with how to best address juvenile and youthful offenders, criminal justice reform is focusing on the best avenues for dealing with low-level drug possession offenses. Organizations that research best practices with youthful offenders, such as the National Institute on Drug Abuse, suggest that the most effective approach is to reduce incarceration in favor of family- and community-based interventions.

Partially gloved mittens holding a cardboard cutout of a house, with fuzzy background.

Youth Show Ways to Reshape Homeless Policy, Chapin Hall Researchers Say

When Abrea Ponce, 25, looks back on her childhood, she realizes things could have been different.
The San Diego mother and staff member at the San Diego Regional Task Force on the Homeless spent her critical teen years moving from couch to couch, hotel to hotel to avoid sleeping on the street. The events that led her to become homeless began long before she was a teenager, she believes.

CSJ’s Witt Retires

It’s been a week of major transitions for the Center for Sustainable Journalism (CSJ), which publishes the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE) and Youth Today.

Florida Death Penalty, Trying Children As Adults Means Not Believing People Can Redeem Themselves

One of the basic questions we must ask ourselves when considering criminal justice reform is: Do we really believe that people are redeemable? Our response drives our personal philosophies on how justice systems should look. As long as there is debate about humans’ ability to reform, we will not have agreement as a society about what constitutes justice.

Arizona: Hopeless teen sitting on steps

Arizona’s Gault Progress Varies Greatly By County, But Reforms Underway

In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that children in juvenile court must receive due process protections, including the right to counsel. The case, In re Gault, which originated in Gila County, Ariz., created the foundation of juvenile defense as we know it today. No longer would children face the awesome power of the state and the prospect of losing their liberty without benefitting from “the guiding hand of counsel.”

Netflix: 5 young men with arms around each other in front of curtain.

Netflix Show an Inside Look at Power of Prosecutors, Media in Youth Justice Cases

Netflix’s highly anticipated limited series, Ava DuVernay’s “When They See Us” is now out. It chronicles the story of the infamous Central Park Five case: how five teenage boys of color from Harlem were wrongly convicted of the rape of a white woman in 1989 and their 25-year fight for justice.

As California Youth Crime Plummets, Need For Innovative Re-engagement Strategies Rises

I’ve argued that notions demeaning the “teenage brain,” “adolescent risk,” and “crime-prone youth” are just simplistic adult prejudices with no scientific basis that hamper understanding of the root conditions and individual situations that drive challenges affecting youth. However, youths do deserve singular considerations in the justice system.