March 06, 2014
In the wake of the Luzerne County, PA “kids-for-cash” scandal, convicted ex-juvenile court judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan bear most of the public blame for violating the rights of thousands of children. The judges sent many of those youth to private juvenile detention centers, and forever altered their lives. But we should not overlook the fact that many of those children ended up in Ciavarella’s courtroom because they were sent there by schools – the very institutions charged with caring for and teaching our children. And what have they learned?
February 27, 2014
When 13-year-old Matt watched his parents’ difficult divorce devolve into a nasty custody battle, he struggled to keep his emotions in check. One evening, after Matt accidentally knocked over his mother’s boyfriend’s beer, the boyfriend accused Matt of throwing a piece of steak at him. At the time, Matt was 13 years old, stood 4 feet 3 inches tall, and weighed 82 pounds—while the boyfriend was 6 foot 3 inches tall and weighed approximately 210 pounds. Still, Matt’s mother called the local police, and Matt ended up before Luzerne County, PA juvenile court judge Mark Ciavarella.
February 25, 2014
The United States holds more prisoners in solitary than any other democratic nation. To address this issue, in June 2012, Senator Durbin chaired the first-ever Congressional hearing on solitary confinement, featuring expert testimony on promising reform efforts that have reduced the use of solitary confinement, while also lowering prison violence and recidivism rates, and saving millions of dollars.
On February 25, Senator Durbin is holding a follow-up hearing to explore developments since the 2012 hearing and what addition steps must be taken to curb the overuse of solitary confinement while controlling costs, protecting human rights, and improving public safety. Juvenile Law Center submitted written testimony for this hearing.