Calif. Governor Signs Bill Giving Youth Sentenced to Die in Prison a Second Chance
On Oct. 1, 2012, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 9, the Fair Sentencing for Youth Act, which allows youth sentenced to Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP) to petition the courts to review their sentence after they serve 15 years in prison. On review judges can lower their sentence to 25 years to life if they demonstrate remorse and are taking steps towards rehabilitation. The law will take effect January 1, 2013.
Congratulations to all the advocates who were involved in this effort! This is a great victory in the effort to challenge JLWOP practices across the country!
National Juvenile Defender Center
1350 Connecticut Avenue, Suite 304
Washington, DC 20036
New Issue Brief on Victimization and Child Trauma (Implications for Legal Advocates)
· Information about the prevalence and impact of victimization and exposure to violence
· Practice tips for juvenile defenders, children’s attorneys and GALs, judges, and CASAs
· Explanations of traumatic stress symptoms and trauma-related assessments and treatments
· Descriptions of promising local and state initiatives to address trauma
· Guidance on policy reforms and other considerations for trauma-informed advocacy
Please share this link with colleagues and look for our next resource on this topic, coming this fall, Identifying Polyvictimization and Trauma among Court-Involved Children and Youth: A Checklist and Resource Guide for Attorneys and Other Court Appointed Advocates.
Imprisoned teens found more likely to re-offend By Walter Jones
September 11, 2012 1:52 AM EDT
Copyright 2012 The Florida Times-Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
ATLANTA - A new report shows that children and teenagers locked up for breaking the law have become 6 percent more likely to commit another crime than they were in 2003. The figures come from a study conducted by the Pew Center on the States at the request of a commission appointed to propose an overhaul to the juvenile-justice system in Georgia. The commission is investigating ways that could make better use of the funds the state spends on public safety.
The same commission made recommendations last year that the General Assembly enacted that created special courts in every county for addicts and also lowered the sentences for crimes like forgery to reduce the number of prisoners and the expense of guarding them.
Locking up juveniles costs significantly more than housing adult prisoners. The state spends $245 per day on each juvenile detainee, an expense that some advocates say could be better spent on rehabilitation by keeping low-risk offenders in their homes.
“It’s not an easy issue, but I think what we do know now is that there are some programs, some supervision strategies, that have been effective in reducing the likelihood that these youths will re-offend,” said Jason Newman, the Pew Center’s state manager.
The center found that the rate in which the average juvenile in the system committed another crime within three years after release hasn’t changed much since 2003 except for those sent to youth detention centers, which are usually the most violent and at the greatest risk of committing another crime anyway. Only one out of eight juvenile offenders spends his sentence in detention.
The Department of Juvenile Justice issued a statement late Monday saying it had noticed the increase and had been trying to reverse it by partnering with churches, increasing mental treatments after release and by minimizing the number of low-risk juveniles locked up so it can focus on those with the greatest need for attention.
“No one can say with exact certainty what has increased the number of young recidivists in Georgia since 2003,” the statement said. “What is known is that youth who enter deeper levels of Georgia’s juvenile justice system often have higher risk levels and increased likelihood of recidivating.”
It also noted that the increased rate is a factor of the reduced population behind bars since those left are a higher concentration of serious offenders. Plus, there has been a rise in the number of hard-core cases with drug addictions.
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