Judge Tom Smith, in his judicial robes over blue shirt and red tie, leans on his bench in the courtroom.

In 2 Arkansas Counties, Jailing Youth Increasingly Used As Last Resort

In 2008, Wendy Jones’ teenage son, Corby, began getting into trouble with the law: skipping school, doing drugs, stealing. His behavior soon landed him in Benton County, Arkansas, juvenile court, followed by a stay in the local juvenile detention center, or JDC, a 36-bed, jail-like facility in Bentonville, not far from the home offices of Walmart.

How to Create an Effective and Equitable Juvenile Justice System in Michigan

Two 15-year-olds, Ryan and Michael, are both arrested for simple assault. While Michael is ordered to complete a diversion program, Ryan is to be locked up for six months in a juvenile facility. Why the difference in punishments? They live in different counties in Michigan.

New Zealand Sees Success With Culture-specific Youth Courts, Family Group Conferences

Experts estimate that only 15 to 20 percent of youth offenders end up in court in New Zealand. For the remainder of the cases, which are often petty, opportunistic crime, police have the flexibility to make decisions based on the context and details of the case, with a focus both on diverting young people from entering the court system and involving their families and communities in the rehabilitative process.