Former Attorney General Holder Urges Action on Racial Issues Under Trump

Panelists at a discussion on race spoke mostly about collective response to a president they fear will roll back the rights of people of color, as well as other groups.
“Start where you are,” said DeRay McKesson, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter. “I didn’t get a call from Harriet Tubman to be an activist.”

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.

Attorney General Holder Asked to Ban Juveniles from Adult Prisons

The National Prison Rape Elimination Commission (NRPEC) is about to close a second 60-day public comment period on recommendations to Attorney General Eric Holder.  The Commission’s report addresses standards to prevent sexual abuse of prison inmates, including juveniles in both youth detention centers and adult prisons.  The Attorney General will make a final decision on the proposed standards. With the deadline for pubic comments fast approaching, the Campaign for Youth Justice is circulating a letter addressed to Attorney General Holder asking for additional signatures.  The letter calls on Holder to ban juveniles from adult prisons. “Adult facilities housing children and youth face a dangerous dilemma,” the letter said, “forced to choose between housing youth in the general adult population, where they are at substantial risk of both physical and sexual abuse, and housing youth in segregated settings which cause or exacerbate mental health problems.”

The Campaign for Youth Justice is trying to get 500 signatures by Friday morning.  You can read the letter here.

Child Advocates React To AG Holder’s Juvenile Justice Reform Call

Local child advocates are reacting favorably to United States Attorney General Eric Holder’s recent comments about the dire need for major juvenile justice system reform. In remarks to the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference, Holder called for the Department of Justice to adopt a new approach that combines evidence-based research and comprehensive community partnerships. Holder also said that it’s time for us to ask some important questions such as; why is it that African-American youth make up 16 percent of the overall youth population, but comprise more than half of the juvenile population arrested for committing a violent crime?  Why is it that abused and neglected children are 11 times more likely than their non-abused and non-neglected peers to be arrested for criminal behavior?   And why is that so many of those who enter our juvenile justice system either can’t afford – or do not know to ask for – access to legal guidance?