May 01, 2013
In recent years, states have passed harsh public registration laws that punish children while doing little to protect public safety. Many of these laws have been enacted in response to a federal law, the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), which targets adult sex offenders, but also includes children. Juvenile Law Center has long argued that these laws are misguided. A new, comprehensive report supports our view.
December 20, 2012
Today is a dark day for Pennsylvania’s children. After spending the last two years enacting a series of measures to improve how we treat our children, Pennsylvania took a giant step backward in adopting a punitive and unreasonable law incorrectly stigmatizing youth for life. Act 111, which goes into effect today, unnecessarily places certain juveniles on a lifetime sex offender registry.
Act 111 was enacted in response to the federal Adam Walsh Act, passed by Congress in 2006 after the high-profile abduction and murder of a child. States that do not comply with the Act are at risk of losing 10% of their funding under the Justice Assistance Grant program. The Act expanded the breadth of registration and notification laws for all individuals convicted of sex offenses. Most importantly, it subjects youth who are adjudicated delinquent to the same registration requirements as convicted adult sex offenders.
October 18, 2012
A new law that criminalizes any sharing of sexually suggestive photos between teens is awaiting the signature of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett—even if the sharing is a consensual, private act between two individuals.
HB 815 claims to protect teens from possible exploitation by authorizing the arrest, humiliation, and saddling of children with a criminal record, as well as needlessly costing families thousands in unwarranted legal fees. District attorneys will now have the power to prosecute any teen who sends or receives a nude or partially nude photo of themselves or another teen, even when it is consensual and even though it is merely the 21st century version of the 20th century Polaroid.