Saturday, July 31, 2021

Play

Educators' unions call for efforts to ensure in-person learning keeps students, teachers, families, and staff safe; and an update on hate crimes by state.

Play

Congress passes Capitol security funding; House Freedom Caucus members want Cheney, Kinzinger out of GOP conference; Schumer closes a deal to advance $3.5 trillion reconciliation package; and a new report says investor-owned utilities try to block rooftop solar.

Federal Bill Would Make Juvenile-Justice System More Fair, Age-Appropriate

Play

Thursday, April 29, 2021   

CHICAGO -- A bipartisan group of federal lawmakers will introduce a package of bills to make the way children and teens are treated in the federal criminal justice system more fair and age-appropriate.

The reforms include ending sentences of life without parole for children, establishing a minimum age for prosecuting children and protecting due process rights of children at the point of arrest, among others.

Xavier McElrath-Bey, co-executive director of the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, said by the time he was 13 years old, he had 19 arrests and seven convictions. He pointed out kids often are criminalized for the choices they make in response to trauma.

"I was hungry. I was living in poverty," McElrath-Bey recounted. "I see those as opportunities where they could have said, 'Wait a minute, why is this 9-year-old kid stealing from the store? Why is this 9-year-old kid taking quarters out of parking meters?'"

In 2019, of the more than 700,000 children across the country who were arrested, more than 200,000 were 14 or younger. More than 75,000 children were prosecuted in the adult system, more than 80% of them racial minorities, according to a report from Human Rights for Kids.

McElrath-Bey noted the legislation could be an important first and crucial step to ensure kids are viewed as untapped potential, no matter what mistakes they've made.

"No child is born bad. It's just that simple," McElrath-Bey contended. "If a child is arrested, it's our fault. It's our responsibility. Yes, we hold them accountable, but in age-appropriate, trauma-informed, and most importantly racially-equitable ways."

Elizabeth Clarke, founder and president of the Juvenile Justice Initiative, said it's encouraging the federal government is taking a close look at the human rights of children.

"It's time to dismantle punitive provisions in the federal and state laws and rebuild the progressive and restorative system of justice that was enshrined a century ago when the U.S. designed the world's first juvenile court and was a leader in human rights for children," Clarke stated.

The Human Rights for Kids report found Illinois is among the worst at protecting children's rights in the justice system. Not only is there no minimum age for prosecuting kids in state courts, the state also allows prosecution and sentencing of kids in adult court.

Disclosure: Juvenile Justice Initiative contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Criminal Justice, Juvenile Justice, and Youth Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
In addition to roof repairs and other home improvements to lower utility bills, a Michigan League for Public Policy report recommends expanding utility-shutoff protections to include households with young children. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

LANSING, Mich. - High utility costs are a major burden for Michigan's low-income residents, and a new study says they have an impact on their health…


Environment

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A new report shows an effort by investor-owned utilities in the Sunshine State to block the growth of rooftop solar. The …

Health and Wellness

By Troy Pierson / Broadcast version by Mary Schuermann reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Collaboration. As marijuana becomes more …


Across the United States, 46 states have laws allowing for harsher punishment for crimes based on bias. (Ludk/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

SALT LAKE CITY - With rising numbers of people targeted in hate crimes and related violence, a new report analyzes the hate-crime laws in each state…

Social Issues

BOSTON - Educators' unions are calling on the state to support their efforts to ensure in-person learning in the fall keeps students, teachers…

According to AARP Connecticut, 47% of family caregivers have had at least one financial setback, such as having less money for retirement or savings, or cutting back on their own healthcare spending. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

HARTFORD, Conn. - In Connecticut, more than 460,000 people care for close friends or family members who can't manage on their own - and their …

Social Issues

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Millions of Americans soon could find eviction notices on their front doors, but New Mexico renters will not be among them - as …

Health and Wellness

CONCORD, N.H. - New Hampshire advocates for affordable healthcare access want Congress to lower prescription costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright © 2021