Juvenile and Young Adult Issues – Fair and Just Prosecution

“Missouri has purposefully instituted a policy that is…a denial of fundamental rights that harms individuals and, ultimately, community safety by eroding trust in the integrity of the system.”
– Wesley Bell, St Louis County Prosecuting Attorney

Criminal Justice Leaders Criticize Detention Conditions of Unaccompanied Minors

All children in detention need – and are constitutionally entitled to – trauma-informed care. Yet, a Virginia district court ruled that providing such care to unaccompanied immigrant children was merely an aspirational goal rather than a necessity dictated by law. That’s why 57 criminal justice leaders from across the country and the disAbility Law Center of Virginia filed an amicus curiae brief in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. In the brief, amici argue that denying such care would be deeply harmful to children in detention, erode trust in the justice system and harm public safety. For more on this important and timely issue, read the press release[11] and full brief[12].

“When there is a credible claim of abuse and harm to a child, as is in this case, all arms of the government should engage in a swift response to end the immediate action and to ensure the termination of any systemic practices. The lower court’s dismissal of this case is inconsistent with the facts and the law and sends a message that some groups are less worthy of protection against harm.”
– Buta Biberaj, Commonwealth’s Attorney, LoudoUn County, VA

Massachusetts Prosecutors Urge Policymakers to Raise the Age of Juvenile Jurisdiction

As communities increasingly push for new approaches to youth justice, Massachusetts District Attorneys Andrea Harrington (Berkshire County), Rachael Rollins (Suffolk County), and David Sullivan (Franklin/Hampshire County) called upon state policymakers to build on the progress of past reforms and raise the age at which youth can be charged as juveniles from 18 to 21. Noting extensive research, proven approaches from other countries such as Germany, and concerning racial disparities, these elected prosecutors offered their support for moving toward a strategy that improves outcomes and equity for emerging adults, while also promoting public safety. Read the release[13].

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