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OP-ED: New Guidelines for Juvenile Defense Attorneys 1 Step Forward for Young Defendants

Today, the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth issues the first-ever guidelines for defending children facing our country’s most extreme sentence. “Trial Defense Guidelines: Representing a Child Client Facing a Possible Life Sentence” (“Guidelines”) seeks to articulate the standard established by Miller v. Alabama for legal representation of children facing life sentences. The first juvenile court was created […]

UN expert slams US as only nation to imprison kids for life without parole

The United States was singled out Monday by a United Nations expert on torture for being the only country in the world that continues to sentence children to life in prison without parole. “The vast majority of states have taken note of the international human rights requirements regarding life imprisonment of children without the possibility of release,” […]

Needed: Level Heads

February 23. 2015 “I want to be very clear that no one who supports this bill is in any way indifferent to the victims.” –Greg Leding, state representative from Fayetteville. It’s a shame that Mr. Leding felt he needed to say he wasn’t indifferent to the murdered or their families. But that’s what it can come to […]

New Nonprofit Will Aid Children in Adult Prisons

By Shafaq Hasan October 23, 2014 According to the Equal Justice Initiative, nearly 10,000 children across the country have been sentenced as adults and are serving time in adult prisons. Pennsylvania, which has the highest number of incarcerated children serving life sentences and no minimum age to try a child as an adult, is now […]

Pope Francis, Criminal-Justice Reformer?

By Jesse Wegman October 24, 2014 Pope Francis continues to speak out on issues that have long scared off even the bravest American politicians. In a remarkable speech before international penal-law representatives on Oct. 23, the leader of the Catholic Church called for an end to the excesses of criminal punishment, or what he termed […]

How One Community Saved Its Troubled Youth

By Rev. Ruben Austria October 21, 2014 What would happen if community stakeholders in U.S. urban neighborhoods plagued by the highest rates of youth crime and incarceration were given the opportunity to intervene early— and often— on behalf of young people caught up in the juvenile justice system? One answer to that question has now […]

Solitary Confinement to End for Youngest at Rikers Island

By Michael Schwirtz September 28, 2014 Although experts have spoken for years about the devastating effects of solitary confinement on the mental health of adolescent prisoners, such seclusion has long been the primary form of punishment at the Rikers Island jail complex, where inmates as young as 16 can spend days, weeks and sometimes months […]

20 Years Later, Parts Of Major Crime Bill Viewed As Terrible Mistake

By Carrie Johnson September 12, 2014 Twenty years ago this week, in 1994, then-President Bill Clinton signed a crime bill. It was, in effect, a long-term experiment in various ways to fight crime. The measure paid to put more cops on the beat, trained police and lawyers to investigate domestic violence, imposed tougher prison sentences […]

OP-ED: Stop Sentencing Kids to Life Without Parole

By Nancy Schouweiler September 4, 2014 Jurisdictions across the country should stop sentencing kids to spend the rest of their lives in detention. “Children are constitutionally different from adults. … Because juveniles have diminished culpability and greater prospects for reform … ‘they are less deserving of the most severe punishments.’” These are the words of […]