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April 25, 2014
The Luzerne County "kids-for-cash" case has been called the “most egregious judicial scandal in U.S. history.” But not for the reasons most people think. The judges accepted $2.8 million in "finder’s fees” from the builder of the new for-profit detention center, and most Americans found that fact both shocking and repugnant. Yet something far worse was exposed in the shadows of the kids-for-cash story: America’s love affair with incarceration.
April 11, 2014
Our nation’s first juvenile court was established in Illinois in 1899. The court process at the time was informal, often nothing more than a conversation between the youth and the judge. Youth did not have lawyers—a child’s constitutional right to counsel in delinquency proceedings was not recognized. This right did not come until 1967, when the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling in In re Gault that children were entitled to many of the same rights as adults who committed crimes.
April 09, 2014
For virtually all young adults, making the transition from adolescence to independent adulthood is challenging. Luckily, most of us have parents to help guide us through the transition. Most foster youth aren’t so lucky.
April 04, 2014
Nationwide, more and more taxpayer dollars are spent to put children behind bars while fewer and fewer dollars are invested in education. A cost-benefit analysis of corrections spending shows that our country is moving in the wrong direction. According to the Justice Policy Institute (JPI) report, “The Costs of Confinement: Why Good Juvenile Justice Policies Make Good Fiscal Sense,” our nation spends an average of $241 per day, or $88,000 annually, for every youth in a juvenile facility. Conversely, 2011 census data show the annual per student cost for a public school education was about $10,600.