From understaffing to suicides, youth are underserved in juvenile justice system By Christopher Zoukis The Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland Maine has deep roots — 165-year-old ones. The center’s first iteration was as the Boys Training Centre in 1853, when it functioned as a rehabilitation facility for young male offenders. In 1976…

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By Christopher Zoukis The debate on whether or not teens should be tried as adults and be locked up in adult prisons rages on on each side of the issue. Some take a more compassionate stance that young offenders deserve second chances after making big mistakes, especially if their crimes are nonviolent in nature. On…

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By Christopher Zoukis It is becoming increasingly obvious that zero-tolerance policies contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline, often unfairly punishing youth for offenses that should not be dealt with in the criminal justice system. Involvement in the criminal justice system often kicks off a domino effect toward further interaction with the criminal system. For non-violent offenses…

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By Christopher Zoukis The Obama administration has taken more steps to improve an atmosphere of fairness and equity and to support a climate of achievement for public school students. New materials to be used as tools by educators were released in September as part of continuing effort to urge schools to abandon controversial, harsh “zero-tolerance”…

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By Christopher Zoukis Lower-income, and racial and ethnic minority youth are far more likely to face incarceration or probation because of an inability to pay debts imposed by the justice system, according to a report issued by Philadelphia’s Juvenile Law Center. The legal aid and advocacy group analyzed state laws on the fines, fees, restitution…

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By Jean Trounstine and Christopher Zoukis In a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision is a deceptively simple line that should affect, and in many cases, transform the way Americans think about juveniles who kill. At the heart of the 2012 groundbreaking case, Miller v. Alabama, said the Court, is the idea, proven by neuroscience and…

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News out of Iran’s criminal justice system last week could not be more surprising. One Judge Qasem Naqizadeh in the city of Gonbad-e Kavus is adopting an alternative sentencing mechanism for juveniles that the rest of the world would do well to pay attention to. Juvenile offenders with no previous records, having committed relatively minor…

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By Christopher Zoukis On December 8, 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) released new guidelines, coined a “Correctional Education Guidance Package,” designed to enhance educational programming in juvenile detention centers. These guidelines have the potential to help many of the 60,000 juvenile prisoners who are currently in…

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