Wednesday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

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Attorney General Bill Schuette wins bid to argue ‘juvenile lifers’ cannot be resentenced, Michigan Live

The Michigan Court of Appeals has approved a request by Bill Schuette to join a case that will decide if hundreds of inmates serving mandatory life terms must be resentenced, possibly to lesser terms. Six other groups have also received permission to argue whether a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling applies retroactively to more than 360 Michigan “juvenile lifers,” convicted as minors of killings or some level of involvement. Arguments will be heard next Tuesday. Groups weighing in range from the American Civil Liberties Union to Schuette and Michigan’s county prosecutors.

“Dear Juvenile Injustice” — Richard Ross on the State of America’s Youth Detention Facilities and Juvenile Justice Policies, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

In Miami, Ross said he encountered children being held in isolation cells where the room temperature was 59 degrees Fahrenheit, with no blankets present. Ross said one detainee self-reported that he had been held in the isolation unit for almost an entire week, when Florida state law prohibits solitary confinement of juveniles for anything longer than 24 hours. Ross brings up the problem of mixed populations in juvenile detention centers, specifically the housing of female status offenders with convicted male detainees. He said that most detention centers in the nation are ill-equipped to deal with gay and transgender detainees, and states that many detention center residents are still pre-adjudicated, sometimes held for years without having trial dates arranged.Last month, Ross said he received an email from a mother whose son — a 16-year-old, with no prior record, he stated — had recently been charged with aggravated assault on a police officer.

Memphis seeking alternatives to locking up wayward youths, The Commercial Appeal

National experts arrived in Memphis to help guide juvenile justice officials, law enforcement and community leaders Tuesday on reforming a system that has been cited for disparate treatment of black youths.Instructors from California, New York, Virginia and Minnesota began training that continues Wednesday at Mississippi Boulevard Baptist Church on how to analyze who is being locked up using data such as ZIP code, offense type, race and gender. Other comparisons examine which youths are being held for long stints, compared to those who are being sent home on bond or house arrest, or being offered probation or diversion.It’s part of a national trend to replace lockup for wayward youths with counseling, mental health services and mentoring.

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