Weekly Roundup

Will Affluenza boy Ethan Couch ever be eligible for forgiveness, JacquieLynn Floyd Apri 15, 2016

“Popular opinion will not, and should not forgive what Ethan Couch did: Killed four people and maimed nine more while driving drunk.

 Nor is it likely to get over what Couch represents: entitlement, privilege, and an absolute lack of remorse for his destructive narcissism.

With all that baggage, will it ever be possible to forgive Ethan Couch, the person?

We are all eligible for the grace of forgiveness. This is not the the same thing as dodging punishment, and in some respects, it’s harder to achieve. We feel righteous in handing out punishment to the guilty, but forgiving them can seem like too much to ask.

Even if Tarrant County Judge Wayne Salvant sticks to his ruling this week that Couch – at 19, now a legal adult – does nearly two more years in jail, it won’t be enough for the millions of people to whom “Ethan Couch, the Affluenza Teen” is as familiar a tale as a blockbuster movie.”

About Book; “Boy With a Knife” and Interview with author Jean Trounstine, Eric Bosco, April 17, 2016.

“That is the central question Jean Trounstine picks apart and answers with an emphatic “no,” in her recently released book, “Boy With a Knife: A Story of Murder, Remorse, and a Prisoner’s Fight For Justice.” The book has re-opened old wounds in the community that still remembers the calm before the storm that was April 12, 1993, and the slaying of Jason Robinson at the old Dartmouth High School.
But the book also has opened a discussion about what society should do with juveniles like Karter Kane Reed, Robinson’s killer, who commit murder. Trounstine leaned heavily on a Supreme Court ruling in the 2012 case Miller vs. Alabama.
“The case deemed that all children, no matter how heinous the crime, are capable of change,” Trounstine said in a phone interview with The Standard-Times. “In Karter’s case, the court deemed that he was not amenable to change and my interest is in how kids in how we treat kids in the criminal justice system, are they able to change? It doesn’t mean that they will but do they deserve a chance?””

Native American Girls fall through cracks, Teresa Wiltz, Pew/Stateline Staff Writer, March 26, 2016

“American Indian and Native Alaskan girls are a small fraction of the population, but they are over-represented in the juvenile justice system, whether they are living on or off the reservation.

Native American girls have the highest rates of incarceration of any ethnic group. They are nearly five times more likely than white girls to be confined to a juvenile detention facility, according to the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

There are programs on tribal lands that work with Native girls who have been caught up in the system, using federal funds. But American Indian girls often find themselves without state or local social service programs tailored to their cultural backgrounds and experiences, which are distinct from other girls living in or on the edge of poverty.

“As Indian people, our greatest hope is our children. And our kids are really at risk,” said Carla Fredericks, director of the American Indian Law Clinic at the University of Colorado Law School in Boulder. “The only way we can help these girls is if we do it cooperatively, with the states, federal government and within our own communities.”

A rare example of that kind of collaboration is the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center in Minneapolis. In Minnesota, American Indian girls have 18 times the incarceration rates of white girls. They are often disconnected from family who themselves may be battling addiction and mental health problems. Native girls who are extremely poor and lack stable housing often get involved with gangs and drug and sex trafficking, said Patina Park, the center’s executive director.”

Camille Van Kote

About Camille Van Kote

Camille Van Kote is a third year student at the University of Houston Law Center. She graduated from Barnard College in 2012. As an undergraduate, she worked as an AmeriCorps member for Jumpstart for Young Children. She was also involved with the Columbia Child Rights Group, where she spearheaded various campus-wide events, including film screenings, conferences and fundraisers, to promote awareness on children’s issues. She interned at Tahirih Justice Center and Kids in Need of Defense, working with courageous women and unaccompanied minors fleeing violence. This past summer, she interned at the Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights, an NGO advocating for sexual and reproductive rights as human rights.

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