police-car-siren-stock-photo-2 Clay Duda/JJIE.org

Study: Curfew Laws Reduce Juvenile Arrests

A recently published study found youth curfews reduce juvenile arrests. The study, published in The American Law and Economics Review by the University of California, Berkeley, showed arrests of youths were directly impacted by curfews, dropping almost 15 percent in the curfew’s first year and 10 percent in the following years. The report analyzed data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Unified Criminal Reporting files from 1980 to 2004 for 54 large U.S. cities (with populations more than 180,000) that enacted youth curfews between 1985 and 2002. Arrests of young adults outside the curfew restriction also dropped suggesting fewer cross-age interactions, according to the study. A survey in 1996, found 146 of the largest 200 U.S. cities had curfew laws on the books.

States closing youth prisons

Juvenile arrest rates dropped 33% over ten years, according to latest stats from the U. S. Department of Justice.  The Associated Press also reports that more states are pushing for treatment rather than prison for troubled children.  Add all have serious budget problems.   All this means reformatories, or juvenile detention centers are getting shut down across the country.  Even Georgia closed down the Bill Ireland Youth Development Center in Milledgeville last year.

Supreme Court bans life without parole

The Supreme Court decision to ban life without parole for children in all cases except murder affects 37 states with laws on the books, including Georgia.  But it does not appear that any Georgia inmates are candidates for release at this time. The ruling reversed a life without parole sentence for  Terrance Graham, a Florida man who was 17 when he committed a home invasion robbery, just six months after another robbery. As the Miami Herald reports, the high court agreed he belongs in prison, but said, “it does not follow that he would be a risk to society for the rest of his life.”

An analysis in the Christian Science Monitor cites studies showing young people are less able to assess risk, control impulses, and process consequences.  Justice Kennedy wrote that they are also more capable of change.  Cutting off that possibility amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, violating the Constitution’s Eighth Amendment. Seven states already ban life without parole for juveniles.  Eleven more statesare considering similar laws.

Daycare May Prevent Delinquency

As the nation faces policy challenges over juvenile delinquency and subsequent crime, one all-but-forgotten option remains as promising as ever despite its virtual absence in recent national discussions and debates: a comprehensive daycare and after-school care policy. New research from David R. Katner at Tulane University School of Law shows early intervention programs help reduce risk factors that contribute to delinquent behavior and later adult offending, while after-school programs create activities for juveniles during the time period when many delinquent acts occur. Read the full study here