Juvenile Justice

Forced out: Schools feed the juvenile prison population

Black students were suspended from school 3½ times more often than white students during the 2018-19 school year, according to a News21 analysis of 11 sample states and New York City, which collectively serve about half of all U.S. students. Despite making up just 15% of the sample student population, Black students received 32% of the 1.6 million suspensions analyzed by News21. Decades of issuing harsher punishments, including suspensions and expulsions, in the name of school safety has accelerated the flow of kids out of primary and secondary schools and into detention centers and prisons, often referred to as the school-to-prison pipeline.

60% of incarcerated kids have child welfare background

The child welfare and juvenile justice systems are meant to help the nation’s most vulnerable children, but the two are rarely in sync, and young people who have been part of both systems make up more than half of those who get in trouble with the law. “Once a child enters the child welfare system, the decisions made for that child by the child welfare system may, in fact, be pushing the kid towards juvenile justice,” said Denise Herz, a criminal justice professor at California State University, Los Angeles and one of the few researchers who has been studying so-called crossover kids, or dual-status youth, for years.

Exploring self-image through art

When Jayanti Demps-Howell was 9 years old, he was suspended from school in Flint, Michigan, for a cartoon superhero drawing he had made at home and brought to school. He had done the same thing plenty of times before — drawing artwork at home and then bringing it to school. When he was upset about receiving a bad grade, he expressed his feelings through his drawings. He drew a cartoon strip of a teacher entering a classroom giving out bad grades, and a superhero blowing her up. He was suspende

‘Super-Predators’: A myth that left a legacy

During the mid to late 1990s, a fear of violent youth crime swept the nation, fueled by inaccurate estimates from criminologists and media reports. A substantial rise in youth violent crime in the 1980s through early ‘90s prompted criminologist and then-Princeton University professor John DiIulio to write an article in 1995 predicting that a new breed of juveniles were going to terrorize the nation: “super-predators.” The youth violent crime rate began to significantly decrease that same year,

‘Young Kings’: School empowers students beyond classroom

When Ron Brown College Preparatory High School first opened in Washington, D.C., in 2016, some community members initially pushed back. In a Washington Post article, people commented that the “young kings” sounded like a gang and accused the school of segregating D.C. students. But this didn’t stop Ron Brown College Prep from creating a safe space for its Black male students using restorative justice principles as a foundation. Instead, “young kings” who enter through the doors of the high scho

What was lost in Brown v. Board of Education

In most schools, the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education is taught as a major victory for reaching equality in education. The 1954 decision desegregated schools and united Black and white students under one roof. What they don’t mention is what the nation lost after Brown versus Board of Education, and how it laid the groundwork for the school-to-prison pipeline. In a 2019 study by Princeton University, researchers found that Black students were three times more likely to b
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