Friday, October 25, 2013

Corporate Crime: Getting a Clear Picture of our Criminal Justice System

By Matthew Brosmer

Not following federal guidelines or providing an adequate worker-safety environment is unacceptable. Major multinational corporations tout regulations as harmful, decreasing productivity and incentives for future investment, which is rhetoric and not true. It's interesting to see how low-level offenses receive harsh sentences while white collar offenses? Does our criminal justice system protect people from the most harmful sources?

Site of chemical explosion near Waco, Texas.
Reforming the criminal justice system is a must. A real change in the criminal justice system needs to come from holding those who create the most risk in society accountable. Wealthy individuals and multi-corporations create more in social, environmental, and financial damages and systemic risks, hurting tens to millions of people at a time, contrary to a low-level risk person, who is using drugs or committing theft. Most of the time these corporations will pay a fine for their negligence rather than serving time in federal or state prison.

Monday, October 21, 2013

10 Years Too Long

Just Policy Blog repost by the Campaign for Youth Justice originally posted on October 21, 2013 for Youth Justice Awareness Month. Their recently released report, "State Tends," can be found here.

By Carmen Daugherty

More than a decade ago, a federal law was created to decrease and prevent prison rape and sexual assault in U.S. jails, prisons, detention centers, and lock ups. Yet, ten years later, youth under 18 are still at the highest risk of sexual victimization in adult detention facilities. With nearly 100,000 youth in adult jails and prisons each year, more must be done to protect youth under the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA).

Youth Justice Awareness Month (YJAM) creates awareness for youth in the adult system, and this week, YJAM will focus on raising awareness for the full implementation of PREA. 

PREA includes standards for youth under 18 in adult facilities. Unfortunately, the regulations do not call for the complete removal of kids in adult facilities, but Governors should see these regulations as a floor, not a ceiling.  Under PREA’s Youthful Inmate Standard, facilities must keep youth under 18 sight and sound separated from adults. Often times, adult facilities use solitary confinement or “segregation” to keep youth safe and away from adult offenders. Sadly, youth placed in solitary or segregation are not any safer since we know that youth in adult facilities are 36 times more likely to commit suicide than their counterparts in juvenile facilities. To account for this, the Youthful Inmate Standard states that the use of isolation should not be used as a means to separate youth from adults.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Juvenile Justice & Afterschool: An Important Connection

Just Policy Blog repost by the Afterschool Alliance originally posted October 15, 2013.

By Erik Peterson

Afterschool programs during the peak hours of youth crime keep young people safe while engaging in learning opportunities.
For almost 40 years, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) has supported the work of afterschool programs to protect young people and promote safe communities.
While just one part of the whole JJDPA picture, funding for evidence-based afterschool programs has empowered communities to implement innovative programs that provide opportunities to engage young people in their own futures.
afterschool alliance
This week, JJDPA will be on our minds as more than one million Americans and thousands of communities nationwide celebrate Lights On Afterschool, an annual event that helps to raise awareness about the need for afterschool programs that keep kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families.

The JJDPA was one of the first federal legislative efforts to clearly link quality afterschool programming to prevention of youth crime and violence. Within Title V of the law, Incentive Grants for Local Delinquency Prevention Programs fund a range of innovative and effective initiatives that bring together communities to provide mentoring and engaging activities for young people.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Campaign for Youth Justice Releases New Report - State Trends: Legislative Victories 2011-2013

Just Policy Blog repost by the Campaign for Youth Justice originally posted on October 10, 2013.

By Carmen Daugherty

Today the Campaign releases its newest report: State Trends Legislative Victories from2011-2013 Removing Youth from the Adult Criminal Justice System. 

State Trends documents the achievements of the past eight years in which twenty three states enacted forty pieces of legislation to reduce the prosecution of youth in adult criminal courts and end the placement of youth in adult jails and prisons. October is the perfect month to highlight these state victories by releasing our newest publication during Youth Justice Awareness Month.

State Trends documents the continuation of four trends in justice reform efforts across the country.  In the last eight years the following progress was made:
  • Trend 1: Eleven states (Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Nevada, Hawaii, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Texas, Oregon and Ohio) have passed laws limiting states’ authority to house youth in adult jails and prisons.
  • Trend 2: Four states (Connecticut, Illinois, Mississippi, and Massachusetts) have expanded their juvenile court jurisdiction so that older youth who previously would be automatically tried as adults are not prosecuted in adult criminal court.
  • Trend 3: Twelve states (Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Nevada, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Ohio, Maryland and Nevada) have changed their transfer laws making it more likely that youth will stay in the juvenile justice system.
  • Trend 4: Eight states (California, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Texas, Missouri, Ohio, and Washington) have changed their mandatory minimum sentencing laws to take into account the developmental differences between youth and adults, allow for post-sentence review for youth facing juvenile life without parole or other sentencing reform for youth sentenced as adults.