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Youth Justice in Focus – Part One: Jailing Youth for Status Offense Behaviors

  Kentucky’s Changing Use of Incarceration for Status Offenses Kentucky has seen a steady decline in the practice of putting youth in juvenile jails (officially called secure juvenile detention centers) for status offenses (things like skipping school or running away from home) since peaking in 2007. In fact, use of this practice has fallen by 52 percent from 2007 to 2012. This is great news given the use of incarceration is the most expensive and [...]

By |2013-08-21T13:54:25-04:00August 21st, 2013|Blog, Youth Justice|

Restorative justice practices for youth

When I first learned of Restorative Justice in 2009 I could tell from descriptions that it was, by design, a much more holistic and thoughtful approach to dealing with youth misbehaviors and criminal activity than our current system of juvenile justice. So, I jumped at the opportunity to hear an expert on Restorative Justice speak at Bellarmine University in November 2009. The expert, Allan MacRae, was overseeing Family Group Conferences for Youth Justice and Care [...]

By |2013-08-20T08:37:04-04:00August 20th, 2013|Blog, Youth Justice|

Reader Letter: Jailing Juveniles

This guest post originally appeared as a Reader Letter in the Courier Journal. You can find it online here. Kentucky is jailing 50 percent fewer juveniles for non-criminal acts. This is progress but as the July 28 Courier-Journal article suggested, more needs to be done. Addressing the dynamics that drive children from school rather to it is why alternatives to detention work and detention does not. When trauma resulting in emotional pain in a child’s [...]

By |2013-08-12T09:54:42-04:00August 12th, 2013|Blog, Youth Justice|

“There has to be a better way”

“There has been a steady refrain from those who have testified before us…that there has to be a better way.” That was a quote from Representative John Tilley, co-chair of the Unified Juvenile Code Task Force, in the Sunday Courier-Journal story on Kentucky’s use of incarceration of children for things such as skipping school and running away from home. The story highlights the progress made on this issue (the trend line is going in the [...]

By |2013-08-01T10:28:07-04:00August 1st, 2013|Blog, Youth Justice|

Doing what works in youth justice

The Unified Juvenile Code Task Force spent much of last year gathering information and hearing about research and best practices for the juvenile justice field. If last week’s meeting is any indication, that groundwork is going to start paying off. You can hear the collective knowledge of members reflected in the discussions. Schools play a large role in the juvenile justice system as a substantial number of charges to young people come from schools – [...]

By |2013-07-11T15:47:53-04:00July 11th, 2013|Blog, Youth Justice|

Remember the original meaning of “The Pursuit of Happiness” this Independence Day

“The pursuit of happiness.”  That phrase animates an essay by Jon Meacham in the most recent edition of TIME. It made me remember Mary Kay Tachua – the most brilliant professor I ever experienced.  More than forty years ago, an administrative error at the University of Louisville put Dr. Tachua as the professor of an undergraduate section of American History.  Dr. Tachua was renowned as a graduate professor; social activist; and, perhaps on special and [...]

Juvenile Code Task Force leaders jump in to finding solutions

The beginning of summer often means a slowing of pace – schools let out for summer break, summer vacations bring added challenge to meeting scheduling, and the long days keep kids and parents out late in summer activities. While the summer pace may be taking hold throughout Kentucky, the Unified Juvenile Code Task Force met for the first time last week and showed no signs of adapting a leisurely pace. Under the guidance of co-chairs [...]

By |2013-06-12T14:03:48-04:00June 12th, 2013|Blog, Youth Justice|
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