Reform advocates declared victory today after Wisconsin agreed to shutter two troubled detention centers and take steps advocates hope will drag its juvenile justice system into the 21st century.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced today that his administration will close the Lincoln Hills School for Boys and the Copper Lake School for Girls and build at least five new detention centers that will “align with nationally recognized best practices.”
In May 2017, here at the JJIE.org, Caren Harp, President Donald Trump’s nominee to be the next administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in the Department of Justice, wrote in great detail her thoughts about juvenile justice.
In her opinion column she writes about “misplaced reliance on nascent neuroscience and neuroimaging evidence.” It “invites pushback from those who favor a retributive system, and it may create some unintended and unwanted consequences for youth and young adults.”
Texas state Rep. Gene Wu is getting frustrated. Legislatures around the country are voting to treat 17-year-old offenders as juveniles while his own state remains in a shrinking — and he says wrongheaded — club that charges them as adults, no matter the crime. Neighboring Louisiana acted last year, as did South Carolina, leaving just seven states nationwide that still prosecute all youth under 18 as adults.
States must begin piecing together a strategy to reduce recidivism and improve other outcomes for young adults using a few broad approaches, says a new report from the Justice Center at the Council of State Governments.
When Allen Breed was appointed director of the California Youth Authority (CYA) in 1968 by Gov. Ronald Reagan, he assumed responsibility for an agency that was considered a national model for providing rehabilitation to youth in its custody – a reputation he helped sow. Prior to his appointment as CYA director, Breed served as superintendent of the Preston School of Industry, one of the nation’s largest and oldest reform schools. It was here that he led efforts to humanize care in an institution that was notorious for violence and brutality, by introducing new treatment techniques and organizational management. Having established a record for creative and innovative leadership, Breed was selected to continue the agency’s legacy by promoting concepts of institutional rehabilitation. In an industry where leaders too often act as apologists for long established, but failed practices, Allen Breed became one of the CYA’s harshest critics. Despite spending an entire career with the CYA, when Breed ascended to the role of CYA director, he began to challenge the efficacy of the very practices he once promoted. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the CYA instituted new practices such as group counseling which later proved ineffective within the culture of violence that pervaded CYA institutions.
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.