Wednesday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

Wyoming Juvenile Killer Law Not Retroactive, Casper Star Tribune

A new Wyoming law that ends mandatory life imprisonment for juvenile killers won’t change the sentences of eight people already serving life for crimes they committed before the age of 18.

The law, which Gov. Matt Mead signed two weeks ago, gives juveniles with life sentences a chance at parole after serving 25 years. They would also be eligible for parole based on a governor’s commutation.

The Legislature did not write the law to apply retroactively. So when it goes into effect July 1, it won’t affect people already serving life for crimes they committed as juveniles, said Deputy Attorney General Dave Delicath.

State Cuts Number of Children in Juvenile Jail: Report Says Alternative Programs Are Effective, Cost-Efficient, Hartford Courant

Once a state that poured tens of millions of dollars into its juvenile prison, Connecticut is now locking up far fewer children and beefing up community programs – with no uptick in serious, violent juvenile crime, a justice-system reform group reported today.

The state Department of Children and Families has shifted money from locked-residential facilities to neighborhood programs and foster care, and is getting a better return on taxpayer dollars as a result, the Justice Policy Institute reported.

Advocates in Connecticut said while there’s still plenty of work to do – particularly concerning differences in the way the system handles black children and white children – this shift away from detention centers and locked wards represents major reform.

One year in the $57 million Connecticut Juvenile Training School in Middletown costs about $350,000 per child, far more than a year in foster care or in a treatment program that diverts kids from juvenile court.

Justice-system and child-welfare officials acknowledge that the focus on alternative programs has raised the threshold for locking up juvenile offenders in Connecticut. For example, there is more tolerance than there used to be for technical violations of probation and parole, such as curfew infractions, truancy, problems in school, and failed drug tests. But the officials say that in the long run, treatment programs still produce better outcomes than prison for young offenders.

Maldives Girl Faces Flogging After Alleged Rape, Huffington Post

A 15-year-old in the Maldives whose father is accused of repeatedly raping her and killing the resulting baby risks being flogged for “fornication” with another man under the nation’s strict Islamic law, a police source said Monday.

In the course of inquiries into the rape case, investigators say they unearthed evidence of the girl having had consensual sex with another man, which is an offence in the Indian Ocean holiday destination, the source told AFP.

Women, including minors, having consensual sex outside marriage can be charged in the Maldives, where convicts can be publicly flogged. Minors receive the punishment when they reach 18, the age of majority.

The child’s step-father is accused by police of repeatedly raping the girl and fathering a child by her which he subsequently murdered. The girl’s mother has been charged with helping dispose of the infant’s body, police said.

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