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View Diary: We Need to Talk About an Injustice: America is Stone-Age on Juvenile Crime (75 comments)

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  •  Important topic we're far from resolving. (26+ / 0-)

    As for your major point, it's probably an uphill climb. More than a few comments on this website insist that the 16-yr-old "young men" in Steubenville must be tried as adults for assaulting a 16-yr-old "young girl." At least one person called for them to be hanged -- a comment that was recommended. Another demands "real time in a real prison with the other real criminals."  I'm not calling anyone out, just noting that the tendency to use the nature of the crime to determine the juvenile/adult venue is widespread and perhaps not easily predicted by political preference.

    I have long found the brain science persuasive if not yet wholly usable. But one issue that seems to be a stumbling block for those who might otherwise be allies is the requirement in most (all?) jurisdictions that the incarcerated juvenile be released at a predetermined age, at least if the juvenile sentence is served without further violations. I don't have a policy suggestion for that, but note that it is an unaddressed sticking point. Given the relative lack of resources expended on rehabilitation (a scandal of its own) and our inability to "scan for maturation" or whatever, I think it's a reasonable concern that may call for a more nuanced approach than the old juvenile/adult system distinctions took.

    Interesting Stanford U. study about race effects. Gender effects are big as well, if more complicated. Haven't looked up recent figures, but IIRC, female juveniles are less likely to be charged, but if charged, more likely to be incarcerated, longer and more harshly. Boys will be boys, and their circumstances influence their behavior, but bad girls are bad.

    If you're working on this for other outlets as well, you might want to update your sources. I'm sure there are people here more up on the lit than I am, but among others (varying greatly by state), The Annie E. Casey Foundation, the National Institute of Justice (particularly the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention), and the National Center for State Courts have more recent and comprehensive info about juvenile vs. adult trial and incarceration. For example:

    NCRC Resource Guide; or Reforming Juvenile Justice; or Disproportionate Minority Contact; or Transfer of Juveniles to Adult Court. For the issues facing juveniles in the system, see the National Center for Youth in Custody: nc4yc.

    Thanks for your effort to raise these issues. I look forward to the discussion.

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