Wednesday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

Being Female in a System Designed for Boys, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

NEW YORK — On a recent Friday, 16-year-old Makala woke up and put on yellow skinny jeans and a trim black jacket — a stylish outfit that marked her temporary freedom.

[Listen to the audio interview here: Interview with Makala]

Until recently, most days Makala wore khakis and a green shirt to satisfy the dress code during a 10-month sentence at The Children’s Village in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. Good behavior had earned her a home pass to visit family a few weeks before her mid-April release.

Since her first arrest at age 12, Makala, whose last name is not used because she is a minor, has bounced through a number of placement and transition programs. As she recounted her time in the system she absent mindedly tore a reporter’s business card into tiny pieces. She described a menacing environment, rife with constant threats.

Sexual Abuse of Children with Disabilities, ChildLaw Blog,

According to the 2010 Administration on Children Youth and Families (ACYF) report, more than 3 million reports of child maltreatment were made in 2009. Of those cases, 10 percent involved sexual abuse, and 11 percent of sexual abuse victims reported having a disability.

The Vera Institute of Justice’s Center on Victimization and Safety recently partnered with the Ms. Foundation for Women to research factors contributing to the sexual abuse of children with disabilities and determine possible action steps for prevention.

In Illinois, A Season of Restorative Justice, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

It has been a good spring for juvenile justice in Illinois. In a year of great fiscal challenge, the General Assembly approved Gov. Pat Quinn’s proposal to double funding for Redeploy Illinois, a successful program helping teens get services in their communities instead of behind sent away to distant prisons.  Legislators also passed a bill to customize Redeploy programs for Cook County neighborhoods and bring the diversion program to the state’s largest county for the first time.

In addition, lawmakers approved a bill raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to 17 for young people charged with felonies. That was a huge victory propelled by the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission’s well-researched report (“Raise the Age; Don’t Split the Difference”) and accomplished by the Juvenile Justice Initiative’s effort to create the largest advocacy collaboration in the state’s juvenile justice history. Those legislative moves forward were buttressed by an Illinois Supreme Court rule change, which was championed by the Illinois State Bar Association, giving priority to appeals of delinquency proceedings.

Brandon Schrecengost

About Brandon Schrecengost

Brandon Schrecengost is a second year student at the University of Houston Law Center. He graduated with his Bachelors degree in Anthropology from the University of Houston in 2007. After graduation, Brandon taught science and music at Sharpstown Middle School in Houston ISD. He began working as an intern with the Center for children Law and Policy this summer and is currently the treasurer of the International Law Society at UHLC. Brandon’s interest in how legal policy effects children the world over, particularly in the realm of education, continues to inform his work.

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