April 11, 2014
Our nation’s first juvenile court was established in Illinois in 1899. The court process at the time was informal, often nothing more than a conversation between the youth and the judge. Youth did not have lawyers—a child’s constitutional right to counsel in delinquency proceedings was not recognized. This right did not come until 1967, when the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling in In re Gault that children were entitled to many of the same rights as adults who committed crimes.
April 04, 2014
Nationwide, more and more taxpayer dollars are spent to put children behind bars while fewer and fewer dollars are invested in education. A cost-benefit analysis of corrections spending shows that our country is moving in the wrong direction. According to the Justice Policy Institute (JPI) report, “The Costs of Confinement: Why Good Juvenile Justice Policies Make Good Fiscal Sense,” our nation spends an average of $241 per day, or $88,000 annually, for every youth in a juvenile facility. Conversely, 2011 census data show the annual per student cost for a public school education was about $10,600.
March 26, 2014
“What were you thinking?!” As former teenagers, we’ve all been asked this question—and probably more than once.
Teens act carelessly and impulsively for several reasons. First and foremost, numerous scientific studies (like the ones found here and here) confirm that teenaged brains are simply not mature, and key functional areas of their brains—primarily the frontal lobe, where decision-making and concentration are governed —are not fully developed until early adulthood. Kids are also much more susceptible to peer pressure than adults. They don’t recognize risks, and when they do, they evaluate risks differently from adults.