The Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline: The Girls’ Story

Report: Girls Face ‘Sex-Abuse-To-Prison Pipeline’

The numbers are huge: An Oregon study found that 93 percent of girls in the state’s juvenile justice system had been sexually or physically abused at some time. South Carolina research found that 81 percent of girls in its system had experienced sexual abuse.

L.A. School Police, District Agree to Rethink Court Citations of Students

This story originally appeared on by the Center for Public Integrity. In the wake of critical news reports, Los Angeles school police and administrators have agreed to rethink enforcement tactics that have led to thousands of court citations yearly for young students in low-income, mostly minority neighborhoods. The Center for Public Integrity and the Los Angeles-based Labor-Community Strategy Center each performed their own analysis recently of previously unreleased citation records obtained from the Los Angeles Unified School District Police Department, the nation’s largest school police force. The Center found that between 2009 and the end of 2011, Los Angeles school police officers issued more than 33,500 tickets to students 18 and younger, with more than 40 percent handed out to kids 14 and 10 years old. That was an average of about 30 tickets a day.

Honor student Diane Tran, 17, was arrested and sentenced to 24 hours in jail and $100 dollar fine. Photo: CNN

UPDATE: Contempt Charges Dropped Against Texas Honor Student Diane Tran

UPDATE, MAY 31: Following an intense public backlash, Texas Judge Lanny Moriarty dismissed contempt charges Wednesday against Diane Tran - a 17-year-old high school student punished last week for truancy. Tran, an 11th grade student at the Houston-area Willis High School, spent 24 hours in a Montgomery County jail last week and was ordered to pay a $100 fine for excessive truancy, Houston’s KHOU-11 reports. Under Texas law, students are allowed to miss no more than 10 class days during a six-month window; reportedly, Tran had missed 18 days for that school year. Following her parents’ separation, Tran has been financially supporting her siblings, working full time at a dry cleaning operation and performing part-time work as a wedding planner. Considered a legal adult under state law, Tran was warned about her absences - considered a misdemeanor offense within the state - by a judge in April.

No Easy Answers When it Comes to Truant Youth

I attended the recent annual conference of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) to give the closing plenary about judicial leadership off the bench. Immediately before my closing I attended a workshop on truancy led by Judge Joan Byer of Louisville, Ky., and Dr. Shawn Marsh of the NCJFCJ. They offered some great ideas and further empowered me for my closing keynote speech on the importance of working together in the community to help our kids avoid the trauma of detention -- and it is traumatic despite what we may tell ourselves. Judge Byer asked how many in the audience are from jurisdictions that allow the detention of truant (status) youth. Most raised their hands.

Los Angeles to Vote Feb. 22 on Ending $250 Truancy Fines

This story was originally published by the Center for Public Integrity

In a policy debate watched nationally, the city of Los Angeles came closer Monday to getting rid of most — but not all — controversial monetary fines for students who are tardy or truant from school. For several years, students in Los Angeles have complained about hefty $250-plus fines for being tardy, and about police officers who staked out schools to catch students sometimes only minutes late. The ticketing also requires students to go to court, with parents, during school hours, so they miss more class time and parents miss work. On Monday, the Los Angeles City Council’s Public Safety Committee voted to set limits on how police enforce the city’s 1995 daytime curfew law and to stop imposing the $250 fines, which, once fees and court costs are added on, can rise to $400 or more for one violation. The curfew amendments — if they get full city council approval on Feb.

Los Angeles Moves Haltingly Toward Ending Truancy Fines

This story was originally published by the Center for Public Integrity


Juvenile judge tries to alter failed policy with "rationality." LOS ANGELES — Fifteen-year-old Juan Carlos Amezcua was just five minutes late for school, and already at the corner by Theodore Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles when a police cruiser’s siren went off last Nov. 16. The consequences of what happened next — handcuffing, allegations of rough treatment and a $250 daytime curfew ticket — are still resonating here. In January, Amezcua and his cousin, who was also stopped by police en route to school, saw their tickets dismissed in juvenile court.

Kids Skipping School and the Wrong Way to Fix It

The first time I skipped school I was 13 years old. Up until then I had achieved perfect attendance for eight years. But in ninth grade I put an ignominious end to my record. That year, I had a friend, Jack, who lived down the street. His parents both went to work early, and he was left to his own devices to get to school.

Grant Hopes to Cut the Number of Kids Who Cut Class

The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention offers the National Training and Technical Assistance Center for Truancy Prevention and Intervention program. This program provides development, training and resources that focus on kids who cut class and other issues. The focus is to try to prevent kids from dropping out of school. The deadline for this is July 11, 2011 at 11:59 P.M. E.S.T.





Jail for Parents who Skip Meetings?

Parents who fail to attend at least one student teacher conference a year could wind up in jail for up to 3 days if a Detroit prosecutor gets her way.  The idea behind this proposal is to make parents accountable for their child’s education, and keep kids in school and out of trouble.  The idea is meeting strong opposition. One local politician recommends spending the money to teach parenting skills instead. A parent points out that if parents are in jail, their children may get into trouble at home alone.   The debate on this issue is so hot, 100 people have posted their comments at the Detroit Free Press website.