We Do Need Candidates for Change — in Justice System

Presidential politics is in full swing and while the number of candidates is being reduced, those remaining are still in the platitudes stage. You know how it goes: Each speaker states his or her faith in America, the strength and world leadership of the United States, the need to right the wrongs of past politicians, that progress must be made and that only “Change!” can save our future.

room confinement: Michael Umpierre (headshot), deputy director of Center for Juvenile Justice Reform, smiling man with short dark curly hair, dark jacket, white shirt, dark blue striped tie

New Initiative Will Help Raise the Bar for Serving Youth in Custody

Increasingly, juvenile justice advocates and system partners are calling for the closure of large, prison-like youth facilities. While these reforms are critically important given the research showing the dangers of confinement — particularly for low-risk youth — the practical reality is that reaching such a paradigm shift will not happen overnight.

My Truth

The false belief that I had was that I was protecting my block, making sure no outsiders messed with my friends and family. But in reality all we do is lie, cheat and steal from each other and in most cases kill one another.

Why Gang Life Is Not What It Is Cracked Up To Be

When I first joined my gang, I was 12. I believed that I wanted to be from my gang. Most of my family I grew up with was from the hood; it seems that I was destined to be too.

Where’s the Oversight of Psychiatric Meds for Pennsylvania Youth Offenders?

Pennsylvania is lagging when it comes to tracking the powerful psychiatric medications kids get in the state’s youth correctional facilities.
While other states have reformed the way they control and track such medications so that it is done systemwide, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services follows only the total amount paid for the drugs prescribed in its six facilities on a systemic basis.

Pennsylvania Juvenile Offenders Given Psychiatric Drugs at High Rates

Thousands of at-risk kids lived in six state-operated youth development centers and forestry camps from 2007 through 2013. Within the razor wire — or dense tree lines in forestry camps — psychiatric medications are flowing, despite the potential consequences to the developing brains and bodies of kids.