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African-American Youth in The Juvenile Justice System

African-American Youth in The Juvenile Justice System

Boston, youth court is

Boston, youth court is available to first time, low level offenders. It is based on a restorative justice framework. Restorative Justice Restorative justice is an approach to justice that focuses on the needs of the victims and the offenders, and the involved community, rather than punishing the offender. Victims and offenders both take an active role in the process, with the latter being encouraged to take responsibility for their actions. Doing so is an attempt by offenders to repair the harm they've done and also provides help for the offender in order to prevent future offenses. Restorative justice is based on a theory of justice that views crime to be an offense against an individual and/or a community, versus the state. Programs that promote dialogue between victim and offender demonstrate the highest rates of victim satisfaction and offender accountability. Raise the Age Many advocates argue that the juvenile system should extend to include youth older than 18 (the age that most systems use as a cut-off). Research in neurobiology and developmental psychology show that young adults' brains do not finish developing until their mid-20s, well beyond the age of criminal responsibility in most states. Other noncriminal justice systems acknowledge these differences between adults and young people with laws about drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, etc. New York and North Carolina remain the only states to prosecute all youth as adults when they turn 16 years of age. Connecticut Governor, Danell Mallor just proposed raising the age in his state to 20. Page 26 of 114

II. Youth Incarceration in The U.S. The United States incarcerates more of its youth than any other country in the world through the juvenile courts and the adult criminal justice system, which reflects the larger trends in incarceration practices in the United States. In 2010, approximately 70,800 juveniles were incarcerated in youth detention facilities alone. Approximately 500,000 youth are brought to detention centers in a given year. This data does not reflect juveniles tried as adults. Around 40% are incarcerated in privatized, for-profit facilities. The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act The system that is currently operational in the United States was created under the 1974 Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act called for a "deinstitutionalization" of juvenile delinquents. The act required that states holding youth within adult prisons for status offenses remove them within a span of two years (this timeframe was adjusted over time). The act also provided program grants to states, based on their youth populations, and created the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Through reauthorization amendments, additional programs have been added to the original Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. The following list highlights a few of these additions: 1975 – Programs were developed to assist children with learning disabilities who entered the juvenile justice system. 1984 – A new missing and exploited children program was added. 1984 – Strong support was given to programs that strengthened families. 1988 – Studies on prison conditions within the Indian justice system. 1990 – The OJJDP began funding child abuse training programs to instruct judicial personnel and prosecutors. 1983 – A juvenile boot camp program was designed to introduce delinquent youth to a lifestyle of structure and discipline. 1992 – A community prevention grants program gave start-up money to communities for local juvenile crime prevention plans. Page 27 of 114

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