Thomas committed an armed robbery in at age 15, shortly after California had tightened its laws against juvenile offenders. No one was harmed in the robbery, and Thomas was a first-time offender. But under the new law, Proposition 21, he would be tried as an adult and sentenced to hard time.
Facing as many as four decades in prison, Thomas pleaded guilty, lowering his sentence to 13 years, which he would serve in adult prison. By the time Thomas went to prison, the superpredator scare had been debunked. Juvenile arrest rates peaked in and have been dropping ever since.
Meanwhile, state juvenile facilities and even adult prisons were filling up with kids, straining state budgets and raising serious human-rights concerns. That is starting to change. In the last six or seven years, states have begun to consider new approaches to juvenile offenders, backed by research showing that incarceration actually increases the chances a young person will commit another crime.
That data has been piling up for years. But states recently have been spurred to act in large part by budget shortfalls amid the recession, and a string of state and federal court decisions objecting to harsh sentencing for young people. Crime overall has gone down. Between and46 states reduced their rate of commitments for juveniles.
That year, in Roper v. Simmonsthe court abolished capital punishment for crimes committed by juveniles. Inthe court decided in Graham v. Florida that states cannot impose mandatory life sentences on juveniles convicted of crimes other than homicide.
Two years later, in Miller v. Alabamait expanded on that ruling, declaring mandatory life sentences for juveniles convicted of any crime to be unconstitutional.
But state responses have been mixed. Two years later, only 13 have passed new legislation to bring their laws into compliance with the ruling, according to an analysis by The Sentencing Project, a nonprofit dedicated to criminal justice reform. Those states still require young people to serve long sentences, from 25 to 40 years, before they have a chance at parole.
Louisianato determine whether the Miller ruling should be applied retroactively.
Some states have also been forced into changing they way they deal with juveniles by state or federal court rulings. Violent or abusive conditions in juvenile justice systems have been documented in 22 states and Washington D.
Casey Foundation, which helps states reform their juvenile justice programs. A Cheaper Alternative As the recession cramped state budgets, many departments began looking for ways to reduce the costs of juvenile incarceration in their state.
Since23 states have taken steps to keep juveniles out of adult prisons, such as raising the age of criminal responsibility and coming up with alternatives to large detention facilities, according to research by the Campaign for Youth Justice.
New York, for example, began to reform its juvenile justice system in The state was struggling with budget shortfalls, and its juvenile system was a mess. More than 60 percent of juveniles who had been locked up re-offended, and some facilities were under investigation by the Justice Department for their brutal conditions, according to a report on the reforms.
The state set up a task force to implement reformsincluding a program to keep young offenders in their own communities rather than sending them to facilities upstate, and focus on their education, mental health and substance abuse problems.
Since then, the number of youth in state custody has been cut by 45 percent. Juvenile arrests have also declined. Tough-on-crime states are also implementing reforms. Inthe Texas legislature moved to keep kids in smaller facilities closer to home instead of large state-run facilities, where reports of abuse were rampant.
Kentucky passed a package of new reforms this year that allows officials in schools and courts to work with young people caught up for minor offenses, linking them with social services rather than routing them through the criminal system.
As FRONTLINE reported earlier this year, the state found that it was locking up kids at high rates even as the juvenile crime rate went down, draining half of its juvenile justice budget.
There are fewer young people locked up today — 6, in adult prisons and roughly 70, in juvenile facilities, according to federal data, down from roughlyyouth incarcerated in all facilities inwhen arrest rates peaked.
At the height of the mass incarceration era, the arrest rate for white youth was a little over 7, per , compared to 14, for black youth, according to the National Center for Juvenile Justice.
Today, with juvenile arrest rates cut in half, the arrest rate for black youth is 8, per— still greater than what it was for white youth back then. Studies have found that from the schools to the court system, black and Latino youth are much more likely to be dealt with harshly than white youth who commit the same crimes.
They are more likely to be disciplined in schooleven as preschoolers, and administrators are much more likely to involve law enforcement when minority students act out. Once in the juvenile system, blacks and Latinos are more likely to be transferred to adult court and incarcerated than whites who commit similar crimes.Why Conservatives Should Support Juvenile Justice Reform Right on Crime | February 6, This article by Right on Crime Signatory and former Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee, originally appeared in regardbouddhiste.com on February 6th, The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), part of the U.S.
Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, assists local community endeavors to effectively avert and react to juvenile delinquency and victimization. Through partnerships with experts from various disciplines, OJJDP aims to improve the juvenile justice system and its policies so that the public is.
Juvenile Justice. Through comprehensive and coordinated efforts at the federal, state, and local levels, OJP’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) aims to reduce youth crime and violence.
OJJDP supports prevention and early intervention programs that are making a difference for young people and their communities, and through research and programming works to.
Juvenile Justice is committed to the reduction and prevention of juvenile delinquency by effectively intervening, educating and treating youth in order to strengthen families and increase public safety.
School Crime and Juvenile Justice, Second Edition, examines the nature, extent, and causes of school crime and disruptive behavior, offering a comprehensive overview of this significant and growing problem.
Drawing on numerous sources and on studies conducted over the past ten years, the second. he Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act (JJCPA) is a state funded initiative that supports juvenile probation programs with a record of reducing crime and delinquency among at .
Washington state also just passed a juvenile justice bill aimed at diverting more youth from the juvenile justice system. Restorative justice programs have been available to youth offenders in Washington since , but the new bill will allow youth to choose these community-based programs without creating a criminal record. Stanford Youth Solutions’ Juvenile Justice and Crime Prevention Program (JJCP) works in partnership with Sacramento County Probation Department supporting the Restorative Justice Model with a focus on community protection, victim restoration, and offender accountability and competency. Criminal and Juvenile Justice | SAMHSA - Substance Abuse Overview.