Leonard Witt

Truth Telling: Civil Rights Era to JJIE.org

Our Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, JJIE.org, has its roots in part in The Race Beat, the Pulitzer Prize-winning book co-written by Hank Klibanoff, former managing editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I was taken by how important it was for the press to shine a spotlight on the injustices taking place in the South before and during the Civil Rights era. Today that same kind of spotlight must be shone on the juvenile justice system, which, with its share of injustices, remains in the shadows of the collective American consciousness. When John Fleming came our way as the prospective editor of the JJIE.org, I knew he was a kindred spirit who cares deeply about high quality, ethically sound journalism and equal justice for all. That dual commitment is illustrated in his just published essay in the Nieman Reports entitled: Compelled to Remember What Others Want to Forget.

June 17, 2011

In Atlanta, the Boys of Summer on the Diamond and in the Community

Teens Face More Consequences from Sexting than Congressmen Do

Attorney Andrew Agatston on Bullying Laws in GA

June 10, 2011

The Gang Violence That Never Was — Social Media and Bad Journalism in Boston
http://bit.ly/k0AT5D

 

School Internet Filter Illegally Blocks LGBT Websites, Says ACLU
http://bit.ly/mEUWua

 

Journeys
http://bit.ly/gladxs

 

Hornberg

Hornberger Advice: Juvenile Offenders Need Alternatives to Prisons

Nancy Gannon Hornberger, executive director of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice (CJJ), says research shows that it is important to “keep the kids out of heavy duty lockup as much as possible.” In this video interview conducted by Leonard Witt, she says “Reclaim Ohio” is a project that saves money and has better outcomes than the bars and chains approach. See subheads and time split guide below the video. Time splits to help guide you through the video:
Introduction 00:00
Conference theme: Developing sentencing alternatives to harsh punishment 00:30
Research shows that normal settings for sentences work best 01:20
Settings built on relationships is better than bars and chains 02:10
Reclaim Ohio is best practice example; cuts lockups and saves money 3:04

Leonard Witt

JJIE.org Audience Grows Under John Fleming Editorship

Not long ago I was bragging here about how our Juvenile Justice Information Exchange hit the 9,000 unique visitors a month mark. I thought that was really great for a niche journalism site covering juvenile justice issues. Now I am happy to report that by the end of March we hit the 12,000 monthly unique mark. Then last week it was 13,000 and this week it is 14,000 with more than 36,000 monthly page views; we are on a roll. No other entity online or offline convenes 14,000 parents, lawyers, policymakers, teens, system professions, judges and everyday citizens interested in juvenile justice.

Leonard Witt

Show that you care, real juvenile justice depends upon you

Since the beginning of the Georgia legislative session our reporter Chandra Thomas and our supporting JJIE.org staff of editors, interns and freelancers have been closely watching all legislation aimed at juvenile justice issues. Thomas had two excellent round-up stories yesterday and today targeting which bills would move forward and which would not on crossover day. I opened my Atlanta Journal-Constitution today to see how its coverage of these juvenile justice bills compared with ours here at the JJIE.org. From what I could see there was nothing to compare. I saw nothing about Senate Bill 127, which is a rewrite of the juvenile code.

Crossover Day Update

Crossover Day – the second longest work day on the Georgia General Assembly calendar – has wrapped up leaving some key juvenile justice and child-focused bills dead for the 2011 session. SB 127, also known as the Juvenile Code Rewrite and HB 185, the Runaway Youth Safety Act, that would allow homeless shelters to provide emergency housing and services to runaway children, are among the measures that didn’t meet the crucial deadline. VIEW SOME OF THE KEY JUVENILE JUSTICE AND CHILD-FOCUSED LEGISLATION. “It had not made it out of [the] Rules [Committee] in time and that’s very disappointing,” says HB 185 sponsor Tom Weldon (R – Ringgold). “It looked like it was going to progress.”

HB 265, which supports Governor Nathan Deal’s recent effort to assemble a new bi-partisan council to study criminal justice reforms and make recommendations to a joint legislative committee, was overwhelmingly approved by the House, 169-1.

Crossover Day Is Here: The Latest On Juvenile Justice, Child Focused Legislation

Today is Crossover Day — the critical mid-point in the legislative session, when Senate bills move over to the House and House bills transition to the Senate. Any House bills that have not passed their chamber of origin will not progress in 2011. Because this is the first year of the  two-year legislative cycle, any bills that fail to cross over may still be considered in 2012. Here’s an update on some of the legislation pertaining to young people in Georgia and juvenile justice issues that JJIE.org has been following. Senate Bills

SB 31 would expand attorney-client privilege to cover parents’ participation in private conversations with defense attorneys representing their children in delinquent or criminal cases. The bill introduced in January by Sen. Jason Carter (D-Decatur) gives the child – not the parent – exclusive rights to waive the privilege. This measure passed the Senate on February 23 and now awaits consideration by the House Civil Judiciary Committee. Introduced last month by Sen. Joshua McKoon (R-Columbus), SB 80 would require any person, including a juvenile arrested for a felony offense, to give a DNA sample.  It would be analyzed and kept in a database by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Leonard Witt

Thanks 9,000 JJIE.org Visitors, We Will Make a Difference

I love to give you updates because they are so positive. Today the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, JJIE.org, broke the 9,000 unique visitor per month mark and we have had more than 20,000 page views for the month. Each weekday nearly 500 visitors come to the site with more than 800 page views. Of those, about 40 percent are coming from Georgia. Remember we are a small niche news operation, but this rapid growth in numbers tells me we are on to something important.