Two Sister States are Worlds Apart on Juvenile Justice Issues, Social Justice Solutions
California and Florida are practically sister states. Both are major tourist destinations and home to numerous celebrities. Aside from that, they have thriving multi-billion dollar agricultural interests with oranges, avocados, etc. jockeying for coveted market share. These states are also remarkably long with different community influences, biospheres, and terrain to contend with. In fact, both are so long that one could almost reach Chicago from Pensacola in the same time and length of travel as it would take to drive to Key West. In regards to cultural influences, both have unusually large Asian, Hispanic, and Native American influences. Indeed, numerous similarities abound between the two. However, when it comes to Juvenile Justice issues, these two sister states are worlds apart.
Starting in the 1990s, both states seemed to be traveling along the same path. The “Super Predator” myth first posited by Professor John DiIulio, Jr., a well-noted author and criminologist, caught the public in a frenzy that led to more and more arrests of teen and pre-teen boys for seemingly innocuous offenses. Federally funded School Resource Officers filled the schools and only helped to bolster the number of juveniles being processed through the courts – many tried as adults. Then, a massive series of events occurred in 2009 that fundamentally changed the two states and put them on drastically different paths.
Texas has reduced the number of youth the state incarcerates by 35 percent in the past 10 years, turning around its policies and realigning the juvenile justice system, according to a report by the National Juvenile Justice Network and Texas Public Policy Foundation.
The report, titled “The Comeback States,” was published this week and focuses on nine states that incarcerated youth at a high rate between 1985-2000 and then experienced a sharp decline between 2001-2010.
Nationally, in 2000, more than 108,000 youth were being held in juvenile facilities. At the end of 2010, that number dropped to 66,000.
State Judge Strikes Down N.H. Tax Credit for Private Tuition Aid, Education Week
A New Hampshire judge has struck down the state’s year-old program of tax credits for businesses that contribute money to organizations offering tuition scholarships at private schools.
Presiding Justice John M. Lewis of Stratford County Superior Court held that the program violates the state constitution because it diverts state tax payments to religious schools.
“New Hampshire students, and their parents, certainly have the right to choose a religious education,” the judge said in his June 17 ruling in Duncan v. New Hampshire. “However, the government is under no obligation to fund ‘religious’ education. Indeed, the government is expressly forbidden from doing so by the very language of the New Hampshire Constitution.”
Los Angeles Moves to ‘Mainstream’ Hundreds of Students, Education Week
First Illinois, now Los Angeles?
Los Angeles is the latest mainstreaming effort to make the news. The 640,000-student district plans to move hundreds of students from separate schools for students with disabilities to neighborhood schools, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
The district says it is making the move in order to comply with federal and state regulations, in addition to a 1996 consent decree that requires the district to reduce the number of students in stand-alone centers. An independent monitor overseeing Los Angeles’ efforts to comply with the decree maintains a website of the latest district moves.