Wednesday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

Here’s a look at today’s top stories affecting children’s rights, juvenile justice, and education:

Sentencing Youth as Adults Harms Us All, Juvenile Justice Blog

Although there have been a number of promising reforms over the past five years in which states have amended their laws to keep more young offenders in the juvenile system, an estimated 250,000 youth under 18 are prosecuted in the adult criminal justice system each year. Yet, research shows that the consequences of an adult conviction are serious, long-lasting, and potentially life-threatening for young offenders and that laws allowing such prosecutions are ineffective at deterring crime and reducing recidivism.

The question remains: Why do most states continue to prosecute, try, sentence, and incarcerate juveniles as though they were adults?

Upcoming Webinar To Explore Strategies for Improving Juvenile Detention Conditions, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE)

On September 12, the National Center for Youth in Custody (NC4YC) – launched by the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) in 2010 – will host a webinar titled Creating and Sustaining Improved Conditions for Youth in Custody: Beyond the Initial External Influence.

The webinar, the first in a series that will explore and address sustainable and comprehensive means of improving confinement conditions for detained youth, focuses on ways for facility managers to create safer, more secure and more therapeutic environments for juveniles in custody.

Study: Voucher students more likely to go to college, HechingerEd Blog

African-American school children in New York City who received a voucher to attend a private school were more likely to enroll in college than their public school counterparts, according to a study released last week by the Brookings Institution and Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance.

For more than a decade the study tracked students who received privately-funded vouchers in the late 1990s. African-American students in that group were 24 percent more likely than those in a control group to attend college and 58 percent more likely to attend private four-year colleges. Hispanic students who received vouchers were also more likely to enroll in college, but only by a small, statistically insignificant, amount.

Helping Parents Understand the Language of Juvenile Court, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE)

A parent’s failure to take part in their child’s treatment and supervision plan is hurtful — the child, for the most part, is doomed! Notwithstanding the importance of effective treatment that targets a child’s tendency to commit crime, none of it can be maximized if parental involvement is minimal or nonexistent — or worse, resistant.

Parental involvement in the prevention or rehabilitation of delinquency cannot be overstated despite the research showing the strong influence of peers on delinquent behavior. Parental attributes are indirectly related to the causes of delinquency whereas peer influence is stronger and directly related to delinquency. So what does the research mean when it says that family function is the greatest protective buffer against delinquency?

Arlington’s Michael Williams appointed new state education commissioner, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Gateway Program provides positive path for San Bernardino County juvenile offenders, Redlands Daily Facts

The Thirty Top Education Policy Tweeters, 2012, Education Next

Alex Hunt

About Alex Hunt

Alex Hunt is a former Yale & Irene Rosenberg Graduate Fellow at the Center for Children, Law & Policy. Alex graduated from the University of Texas in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in government. Before entering law school, he taught middle school math at YES Prep Southwest in Houston with Teach For America. In 2010, he received New Leaders' EPIC Spotlight Teacher Award, a national award for teachers with outstanding student growth. Alex graduated cum laude from the University of Houston Law Center in May 2013. During law school, Alex was Casenotes & Comments Editor for the Houston Journal of International Law, interned for both state and federal judges, and served as Vice President of the Health Law Organization (HLO). In addition, Alex has received the Irving J. Weiner Memorial Scholarship Award (for a year of outstanding work in the UH Law Center Legal Clinic), the Napoleon Beazley Defender Award (for outstanding work on behalf of children), the Ann Dinsmore Forman Memorial Child Advocacy Award, the Mont P. Hoyt Memorial Writing Award for an Outstanding Comment on a Topic in International Law, and he was a finalist for Texas Access to Justice's Law Student Pro Bono Award. Alex is currently in private family law practice with the Hunt Law Firm, P.L.L.C. in Katy, Texas.

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