Juvenile Detention

Seeking a Second Chance: Children Sentenced to Life Without Parole Seek Justice Before International Tribunal

Seeking a Second Chance: Children Sentenced to Life Without Parole Seek Justice Before International Tribunal

By Allison Frankel, Criminal Law Reform Project, ACLU & Katie Haas, Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 12:47pm
By her thirteenth birthday, Barbara Hernandez had lived with an abusive, alcoholic father and been molested by her mother’s second husband.  At fifteen, Barbara dropped out of school and moved in with her boyfriend James, who beat her and coerced her into prostitution. Barbara’s life with James had taught her that she had two choices: obey him or face physical abuse.  So when James instructed her to buy him a knife and lure a man into their home, Barbara obeyed.  While she was in another room, James stabbed the man to death.  Despite Barbara’s youth, troubled background, and the fact that she did not physically commit the crime, Barbara was tried as if she were an adult and received the harshest sentence possible in the State of Michigan, life without the possibility of parole.  She was just sixteen, and about to spend the rest of her life in prison.  In Barbara’s words, she was sentenced to a “long slow death.”
Justice Department Takes First Steps to Protect Kids from Rape

Justice Department Takes First Steps to Protect Kids from Rape

By Amy Fettig, ACLU National Prison Project at 11:41am

In 2003, Congress took an important first step in addressing a national tragedy: epidemic levels of rape and sexual abuse in our nation’s prisons, jails and youth detention centers. The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), passed unanimously…

16 and Solitary: Texas Jails Isolate Children

16 and Solitary: Texas Jails Isolate Children

By Amy Fettig, ACLU National Prison Project & Matt Simpson, ACLU of Texas at 3:06pm

Imagine locking a teenager in a bathroom for an entire day, a week, a month, six months, a year, or longer. What would happen to that child? She would miss school. She wouldn't be able to exercise or burn off energy in a healthy way. She wouldn't…

Too young to shave, but old enough for solitary

Too young to shave, but old enough for solitary

By David Fathi, National Prison Project at 5:24pm

As any parent knows, teenagers are different than adults. This common-sense observation is backed by hard scientific evidence; we know that an adolescent’s brain continues to grow and develop well into his or her twenties. The fact…

This Week in Civil Liberties (3/30/2012)

This Week in Civil Liberties (3/30/2012)

By Rekha Arulanantham, ACLU at 7:01pm

In which state did doctors try to force a pregnant woman to have a c-section against her wishes?

What group can no longer be held in solitary confinement in Mississippi?

How many cells compose a person according to Personhood USA's…

"A Picture of Such Horror as Should Be Unrealized Anywhere in the Civilized World"

"A Picture of Such Horror as Should Be Unrealized Anywhere in the Civilized World"

By Margaret Winter, National Prison Project at 1:27pm

A federal court judge has put a stop to the state of Mississippi's practice of putting kids convicted as adults in solitary confinement.

ACLU to United Nations: Solitary Confinement Violates Human Rights

ACLU to United Nations: Solitary Confinement Violates Human Rights

By Tanya Greene, Advocacy and Policy Counsel, ACLU at 2:31pm

The ACLU's Amy Fettig appeared before the U.N. Human Rights Council today to condemn the use of solitary confinement in the United States, following a written statement we submitted last month urging the Council to address this widespread violation…

From Filthy Boys Prison to New Beginnings: Hill Staffers Walk a Mile in Youthful Offenders' Shoes

By Jennifer Bellamy, Washington Legislative Office at 10:47am

Recently, the juvenile justice community organized a site visit to the Oak Hill Youth Center and the New Beginnings Youth Development Center in Laurel, Maryland, for key congressional staffers and staff in the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency…

Connecting the Dots, Protecting Kids

By Colin Petersen, Washington Legislative Office at 3:12pm

On any given day, 93,000 juvenile offenders are held in residential placement facilities. For their benefit, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) was created to help state and local governments deal with juvenile delinquency.

Additionally,…

Shining a Light into Juvenile Prisons "Before Someone Gets Hurt"

By Mie Lewis, Women's Rights Project at 12:00am

Back in 2006, I interviewed many girls who had been confined in New York’s juvenile prisons. The girls described harsh, prisonlike environments where physical force was used to punish and control them, sexual and psychological abuse occurred,…

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