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Juvenile justice


There has been a troubling shift in the nation’s responses to at-risk youth over the past 25 years. The creators of the juvenile justice system originally viewed it as a system for providing prevention, protection, and redirection to youth, but it is more common for juveniles today to experience tough sanctions and adult-type punishments instead. While reforms are underway in many places, there remains an urgent need to reframe our responses to juvenile delinquency.

Juveniles Held in Adults Prisons and Jails

Juvenile Justice News
April 17, 2014 (SparkAction.org)
A Look at the Latest Data on Race and Juvenile Justice

Josh Rovner, state advocacy associate for The Sentencing Program, wrote in a blog about “the remarkable drop in juvenile arrest rates since the mid-1990s has done little to mitigate the gap between how frequently black and white teenagers encounter the juvenile justice system. These racial disparities threaten the credibility of a justice system that purports to treat everyone equitably.

“Across the country, juvenile justice systems are marked by disparate racial outcomes at every stage of the process, starting with more frequent arrests for youth of color and ending with more frequent secure placement.

“The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) of 1974 requires that data be collected at multiple points of contact: arrest, referral to court, diversion, secure detention, petition (i.e., charges filed), delinquent findings (i.e., guilt), probation, confinement in secure correctional facilities, and/or transfer to criminal/adult jurisdiction.

“Jurisdictions are also required to report the race of juveniles handled at each of these stages. As a result of this requirement—known as the Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) protection of the JJDPA—states have collected racial data on young people’s encounters with the justice system.

“National data is now available from the Department of Justice, and the W. Haywood Burns Institute has organized the publicly available state-by-state data and county-by-county data.”


April 15, 2014
Race & Justice News

School Discipline: Racial Disparities in School Discipline Begin in Preschool

Policing: 911 Dispatch Speed Varies Across Chicago Neighborhoods

Research: Black Children “Are Not Allowed to Be Children”

Annual Review of Implicit Bias Research

Juvenile Justice: Resources for Racial-Ethnic Fairness in Juvenile Justice


April 2, 2014 (The Sentencing Project)
New Publication: Juvenile Life Without Parole

Recent Supreme Court rulings have banned the use of capital punishment for juveniles and mandatory sentences of life without parole for juveniles (JLWOP). Still, the United States stands alone as the only nation that sentences people to life without parole for crimes committed before turning 18.

This briefing paper reviews the Supreme Court precedents that limited the use of JLWOP and the challenges that remain.


March 25, 2014 (Des Moines Register)
Iowa officials wonder: what's fair for juveniles?

Blair Greiman, originally sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for a brutal crime when he was 16 years old, has spent more than 30 years in prison and insists he is ready to be released.

Iowa’s parole board sees it differently. It has denied Greiman parole three times since the now-48-year-old was re-sentenced in 2012 to life with the possibility of parole. The board has consistently found that the commission of a crime of rape and stabbing warrants more time behind bars.

Greiman’s resentencing came after the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Graham v. Florida, made life-without-parole sentences illegal for juvenile offenders who committed non-homicide crimes that carry a life sentence, such as first-degree kidnapping. Iowa has six other inmates who were made eligible for parole by the ruling, and all have denied release by the parole board.


March 14, 2014 (The Sentencing Project)
Race & Justice News

Reforms: North Carolina Judges: Preserve Racial Justice Act Commutations

Wisconsin's Racial Impact Statement Bill

Research: How Incarceration Conceals Racial Inequality in Educational Attainment

Evaluating Efforts to Eliminate Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System

Why Racial Minorities are Overrepresented in Private Prisons

Juveniles: Revising the History of Juvenile Justice

Immigration: 4 in 10 Deportees from Maryland Had No Prior Criminal Record