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Spotlight: 6% of the Population, but 40% of the Transfers to Adult Court: The Reality for Black Girls in Iowa’s Juvenile and Adult Justice Systems

Thursday, 25 May 2017 Posted in Research & Policy

By Jeree Thomas, Policy Director

In 2014, Black girls made up approximately 6% of the female youth in Iowa ages 10 to 17; however, they made up 27% of the female juvenile complaints, 41% of the petitions filed on girls in juvenile court, and about 40% of the girls waived to adult court.   This data is given greater context in the Iowa Girls Justice Initiative  final report which builds on a 2016 data report.  Here are just a few of the difficult statistics that highlight the racially disparate and disproportionate reality for Black girls in Iowa’s juvenile and adult justice systems.

U. S. House Approves Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Federal Juvenile Justice Law - Passage Comes Same Day President Trump Releases FY18 Budget Proposal

Tuesday, 23 May 2017 Posted in Federal Update

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives approved by voice vote, H.R. 1809, bipartisan legislation to strengthen and update the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 (JJDPA).

North Carolina “Raise the Age” Takes a Big Step Forward

Tuesday, 16 May 2017 Posted in Campaigns

By Brian Evans, State Campaign Director

On May 17, the North Carolina House of Representatives passed HB 280, legislation that will “Raise the Age” of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18. Once New York raised the age earlier this year, North Carolina became the only state in the country still committed to prosecuting all 16 and 17 year olds as adults, regardless of how minor the offense might be.

Put aside what we don’t know and support justice-involved youth with mental health needs

Tuesday, 16 May 2017 Posted in Campaigns

By Micah Haskell-Hoehl, Legislative and Federal Affairs Officer at the American Psychological Association

We need to be careful about the language we use to discuss mental health and juvenile justice—and even more careful about how we meet the mental health needs of justice-involved youth.

By the numbers, the link may seem straightforward. Up to 70 percent of youth detained in the juvenile justice system—three to four times the rate among their peers in the community—have diagnosable symptoms of a mental health disorder. Depending on the individual diagnosis, the disparity can be even greater, and, particularly alarming, justice-involved youth experience severe emotional disturbance at two and a half times the rate in the community.

Mother's Day Series: Love Messages From Behind Bars

Monday, 08 May 2017 Posted in Voices

Mother’s Day is coming up on Sunday! Last week, we highlighted the voices of moms who had seen their children taken away by the adult criminal justice system. This week, to celebrate the very special place moms and caregivers hold in incarcerated youth’s lives, we asked them what message they wanted to send to their mothers. We collected them here. 

  •  To the moms/caregivers who are going through the difficult time of having a loved one in prison, know that there is not a day that goes by that you are not appreciated. Your support is uncanny which makes you so special and valuable to not only your loved ones but to the world. Know that you are loved and appreciated. - Kevin, James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Smyrna, Delaware

Mother's Day Series: Both of us in captivity in two different ways

Friday, 05 May 2017 Posted in Voices

To celebrate Mother's Day that is coming up on May 14, we will be highlighting throughout this week the voices of mothers of incarcerated youth, whose unconditional love and support is often the only ray of light for children behind bars. Next week, we will feature messages that youth in prison wanted to send their moms/caregivers for Mother's Day. 

By Vikki Stokes

We have risen above and will never give up, although hell came to greet us with its relentless hiccup.
But prayer without ceasing unleashes a power 
That can't be denied and miracles shower
Both of us in captivity in two different ways
My son, I am your mother and won't be ashamed
If you are behind cages or standing in front looking in
If telepathically only be first your son's friend

Mother's Day Series: Being Mum

Thursday, 04 May 2017 Posted in Voices

To celebrate Mother's Day that is coming up on May 14, we will be highlighting throughout this week the voices of mothers of incarcerated youth, whose unconditional love and support is often the only ray of light for children behind bars. Next week, we will feature messages that youth in prison wanted to send their moms/caregivers for Mother's Day. 

By Corrinne Broadbridge

The spelling is correct, I'm British and it's pronounced Mum and not Mom. I am Mum. 

My son Chris was just 14 at the time. The crime was murder but not at my son's hand but at the hands of the homeowner who shot one of my son's friend dead. 

Mother's Day Series: Mad, Overwhelmed, Trying, Helpless, Emotional, Resilient

Wednesday, 03 May 2017 Posted in Voices

To celebrate Mother's Day that is coming up on May 14, we will be highlighting throughout this week the voices of mothers of incarcerated youth, whose unconditional love and support is often the only ray of light for children behind bars. Next week, we will feature messages that youth in prison wanted to send their moms/caregivers for Mother's Day. 

By Michelle Hannemann

Being a mother of a convicted felon and registered sex offender has changed my life. Although I feel more than fortunate that our son is alive, healthy and now home with us, there is a sense of loss from the years that were taken from us.

Mother's Day Series: The Story of Veronica

Tuesday, 02 May 2017 Posted in Voices

To celebrate Mother's Day that is coming up on May 14, we will be highlighting throughout this week the voices of mothers of incarcerated youth, whose unconditional love and support is often the only ray of light for children behind bars. Next week, we will feature messages that youth in prison wanted to send their moms/caregivers for Mother's Day. 

By Veronica Williams

It was early evening January 21st, 2014, when we received the call that our son was arrested for an offense that he committed at the age of 14. The offense was something unbeknownst to his father and I, until it was brought to our attention the year before 2013, when he was accused by a family member.  We thought how could something that happened when he was a child be put against him as an adult and no prior record of anything. Our son was in college working on a degree for sports medicine, working two jobs.  No mother or father wants to ever get that one call that their child is either raped, murdered or arrested. 

Mother's Day Series: "I Am A Mother And…As For Me And My House….Tomorrow Has Not Come."

Monday, 01 May 2017 Posted in Voices

To celebrate Mother's Day that is coming up on May 14, we will be highlighting throughout this week the voices of mothers of incarcerated youth, whose unconditional love and support is often the only ray of light for children behind bars. Next week, we will feature messages that youth in prison wanted to send their moms/caregivers for Mother's Day. 

By Heidi Nuttall

It was a warm day In late September 2011. I stood in the judge's chambers and sobbing, I watched as my precious 14 year old son was led away, 570 miles away. Sentenced as an adult for 40 years? How many MEN have had that dooming sentence? Being the mother of a very young person, charged, sentenced and condemned to a life of looking behind his back, always in fear, never feeling secure unless he’s locked behind solid cement. How does it feel? Today, it feels hopeless… There’s really no other word, just hopeless. In the beginning, we lived in a glass house, in a small town of 900 where everyone knows everybody, fear reigned supreme! In the public eye, my son was a hardened criminal. When he came home after 4 months in Juvenile Detention, before his sentencing, mothers circulated petitions, for fear he would snatch their children.

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