Monday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

Expert: Law Diverting 17-Year-Olds Facing Felony Charges to Juvenile Court Boosts Rehabilitation, Chicago Tribune

(Chicago) – A new law permitting 17-year-olds charged with felony crimes to be tried in juvenile rather than adult court is a key Illinois juvenile justice reform that emphasizes rehabilitation of youth over more strict punitive measures, says a top Illinois justice advocacy group.

The law, House Bill 2404, signed by Governor Pat Quinn on July 8 directs 17-year-olds charged with felonies to juvenile courts where rehabilitative services are available.

“This bill treats young people as evidence suggests we should, offering a rehabilitative approach consistent with national trends that reflect a growing understanding of youth development,” said Pamela Rodriguez, President of the Center for Health and Justice at TASC.

“Handling youth who have offended in juvenile court will shrink the risk that 17-year-olds, charged with a felony, will become entrenched in the criminal justice and correctional systems and boost the chance that they will emerge as assets to their community,” Rodriguez added.

 

Scope of Ga. juvenile justice abuse claims widens, San Francisco Gate

ATLANTA (AP) — The number of unresolved sex abuse investigations at Georgia’s juvenile detention centers goes far beyond those that prompted the suspensions of 18 investigators and their supervisor, Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice Commissioner Avery Nilessaid Sunday.

An investigation into the unresolved cases led officials to finding that 700 internal investigations over a year and a half were unresolved.

Of that number, Niles said 141 unresolved investigations meet the Department of Justice‘s standard for sexual abuse or harassment by other juveniles or detention center staff.

“Youth safety is at stake and we have pledged to maintain a sexually safe environment for all our residents,” Niles said in a statement. “That means taking immediate corrective actions to ensure all reports of sexual abuse and harassment are quickly and thoroughly investigated according to DJJ Policy and state and federal law.”

Esther Kim

About Esther Kim

Esther Kim is a third year student at the University of Houston Law Center. She graduate from Wesleyan University in 2007 with a B.A. in Liberal Arts with a focus in Chinese Language and Literature. As an undergraduate, she worked one summer at the Citizens' Committee for Children, New York, a child advocacy organization, where she developed an interest in children's rights, community after-school resources, and immigration. Esther has recently been selected to be an Equal Justice Works Fellow, sponsored by Texas Access to Justice Foundation, at Lone Star Legal Aid, where she will be working closely with Asian victims of domestic violence in Harris and Fort Bend Counties.

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