Juvenile Detention

I Was 16 and in Solitary Before I Ever Even Went to Trial

I Was 16 and in Solitary Before I Ever Even Went to Trial

By Reginald Dwayne Betts, Legal Intern, ACLU at 2:01pm
February is cold in Northern Virginia. It's even colder when you're in a cell alone, without a mattress, a blanket, a pillow, or a sheet.
Juwan Wickware being interrogated

Only in America: 16-Year-Old Locked Up for the Rest of His Life

By Steven M. Watt, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program & Allison Frankel, Criminal Law Reform Project, ACLU at 4:37pm

Juwan Wickware wasn't the shooter. But he and more than 2,500 others nationwide will enter prison as teenagers, grow into adults, and die – all behind bars.

This is not right. The sentence must fit the crime, and we cannot throw…

I Was Six-Years-Old and Locked in Solitary

I Was Six-Years-Old and Locked in Solitary

By James Burns at 1:24pm

Solitary was the worst thing that's ever happened to me. I was in and out of jail while I was growing up, and every time I was in solitary confinement, it felt as horrible as the first time I was locked up and left alone.

The first time I'd…

15-Year-Old Gets Six Life Sentences?

15-Year-Old Gets Six Life Sentences?

By Alex Stamm, ACLU Center for Justice at 1:27pm

At gunpoint, two 18-year-olds and a 15-year-old robbed a dozen other teenagers at a house party, taking money, phones, and marijuana. No shots were fired, but one of the 18-year-olds struck someone with the butt of his gun.

The crime is unquestionably…

Time Out Is for Kids. This Isn't.

Time Out Is for Kids. This Isn't.

By Amy Fettig, ACLU National Prison Project & Tanya Greene, Advocacy and Policy Counsel, ACLU at 11:35am

"I developed techniques to survive. I've learned to play chess with other [kids] through a six-inch wall to keep myself occupied. But for others, it breaks them, makes them either violent or suicidal."

These are the words of Lino Silva, who…

Perhaps the Saddest Profit Motive Ever

Perhaps the Saddest Profit Motive Ever

By Mishi Faruqee, Juvenile Justice Policy Strategist, ACLU at 3:16pm

In Pennsylvania, there are two companies called PA Child Care LLC and Western PA Child Care. You might think that these companies offer services and supports to kids to help them become productive adults. You’d be wrong.

These companies offered…

Prosecution Is Not the Way to Save a 10-Year-Old Child

Prosecution Is Not the Way to Save a 10-Year-Old Child

By Allison Frankel, Criminal Law Reform Project, ACLU & Sarah Solon, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 3:54pm

When children under 12 engage in exploitative sexual behavior, it is often a result of abuse or exposure to sex acts that they themselves have experienced. These children need mental health treatment and family interventions, not probation and blacklists.

Why…

You Won't Believe What We're Doing to Kids

You Won't Believe What We're Doing to Kids

By Sarah Solon, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 11:08am

Imagine yourself at 13. Maybe you'd just started 8th grade. Maybe you'd just seen your first PG-13 movie. Now watch this:

Everyday across the country, kids as young as 13 are held in solitary confinement…

50 Years after the Dream: Why Are We Filling our Jails with Kids of Color?

50 Years after the Dream: Why Are We Filling our Jails with Kids of Color?

By Mishi Faruqee, Juvenile Justice Policy Strategist, ACLU at 2:22pm

This week, fifty years after the March on Washington, President Obama stood on the National Mall and listed out some of the unfinished business of the civil rights movement. High up on the list: not letting our criminal justice system become "simply…

What Happened to My Son Should Never Happen Again

What Happened to My Son Should Never Happen Again

By Grace Bauer, Interim Executive Director, Justice for Families at 4:02pm

Imagine you have a 13-year-old son. And now imagine the worst that could happen to him. I'm a mother, and I've lived through it.

When my son Corey was 13, he was raped by another young prisoner. Cell guards stood by and watched, taking bets…

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