February 29, 2012
"Reintegration is not a federal program, it's a community process." Rights & Responsibilities (c) 2007 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Eric Okdeh
What can Leap Year teach us about effective advocacy for kids involved with our court and justice systems?
Every four years, Leap Day is added to the calendar on February 29th because the length of a year is actually 365.242 days, not 365 days. The practice of aligning our annual calendar with scientific knowledge dates back to the days of Julius Caesar. It was Caesar who created the leap year in 45 B.C., based upon the calculations made by his astronomer, Sosigenes. As scientific knowledge grew, the calendar was again adjusted in the 16th century, bringing us the modern Gregorian calendar.
Thousands of years ago, the Romans recognized the need to base policy and practice decisions upon scientific research and knowledge. On this Leap Day, we thought we should take a moment (we have a whole extra day, after all!) to reflect upon the need to consider developmentally-appropriate, research-driven solutions for children involved in America's justice system. By taking account of the growing body of science about children's cognitive, social, and emotional development, we can leap substantially ahead in our adoption of progressive juvenile and criminal justice policies.
February 13, 2012
In December 2011, Pennsylvania enacted its version of the federal Adam Walsh Act—a piece of draconian legislation that will require up to lifetime registration for Pennsylvania juveniles convicted of sex offenses. The General Assembly passed the law, and the Governor signed it, despite a steady and persistent chorus of dissent from leading child advocates across the state and nation. Why would children's advocates raise concerns about a new law that ostensibly aims to protect children? Because the law has the potential to destroy more lives than it will protect, while robbing Pennsylvania taxpayers of critical resources.