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IN BRIEF

“Caging asylum seekers…rests on the normalized practice of caging other people…The naming of those cages matters insofar as legal and civil rights battles can be conducted, but they are all cages that separate people from families and communities” (Jenna M. Lloyd)

The House passed a $4.5 billion “emergency border aid bill” including new health and safety standards for migrants in custody, and limits on children’s length of stay at so-called “influx” shelters. This comes after reports revealed unsafe and unsanitary conditions at a packed border facility in Clint, Texas where roughly 300 detained children as young as infants were cared for only by other children. The U.S. government moved all but 30 children from the Clint facility (to other facilities run by different federal agencies) following widespread outrage. Earlier this month, the Department of Health and Human Services announced funding cuts for activities deemed “not directly necessary for the protection of life and safety” – including education, legal services, and recreation – at detention centers for migrant youth.

According to doctors at Banner-University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona pregnant migrants who have just been apprehended are frequently brought in for medical evaluations where, upon completion, Border Patrol agents routinely pressure doctors to “clear” them for detention – “meaning they are ‘healthy’ enough to be detained.”

“These are the sites and systems by which sexual violence, neglect, physical abuse, emotional violence, intergenerational trauma are induced and occur…” (Dr. Connie Wun)

Juvenile Justice Reform

2017 data on one-day counts of young people incarcerated nationally, released by the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, show the continuation of a trend started in 2001: juvenile incarceration is declining. 2017 showed a 60% drop from 2000. However, the data also reveal continued disproportionate minority contact – with black youth constituting 44% of incarcerated youth despite making up only 15% of the general population. Girls also continue to be disproportionately incarcerated for status offenses and technical violations (34%) – both of which rarely pose any threat to public safety – compared to boys (15%).

San Francisco’s Juvenile Hall will close by the end of 2021, thanks in large part to the Young Women’s Freedom Center, which worked closely with the city’s board of supervisors who voted 10-1 in favor of the closure. “The plan will set up a 13-person working group to figure out how the city will handle those who would otherwise be incarcerated.

Michigan is on its way to raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction from 17 to 18 . If passed this session, only Georgia, Texas, and Wisconsin will continue to automatically charge 17-year-olds as adults. Kim Lawrence writes on her 15-year-old daughter’s incarceration in an adult facility in Florida, where close to 1,000 minors are prosecuted as adults every year: “It is a fact, not an opinion, that a teenager’s brain is not fully developed to weigh risks and consequences…So why do we pull out the adult card for crimes?”

Impact Justice is building on its Restorative Justice Project with an “interactive online toolkit” for community-based organizations interested in implementing pre-charge restorative justice diversion programming in their communities. The toolkit is the first step in receiving technical assistance and support from Impact Justice.

“Unannounced inspections to juvenile detention facilities, subpoena power, and an independent grievance filing system” are just a few of the things the L.A. County Probation Reform Implementation team would like to be part of the first ever civilian-run probation oversight commission. While the county already has a group overseeing the department, it is largely powerless, and recent concerns over excessive use of force and abuse in juvenile facilities have amplified the need for greater oversight. This includes the use of pepper spray in California’s juvenile facilities, which according to an ACLU of Southern California report, was used an average of 4.25 times a day between January 1st 2015 and March 31st 2018.

A new report from the Abell Foundation highlights lessons learned from state-led juvenile justice reform efforts, including advancements in Maryland, West Virginia, Utah, Kansas, South Dakota, Kentucky, and Georgia. The Coalition for Juvenile Justice released a report that “seeks to help State Advisory Groupsbetter understand the ways in which they can lead juvenile justice system improvements in the face of decreased funding.”

System Violence

If I punch my kid like that, it would be child abuse, so I don’t see how a stranger can restrain a child by punching them.”

A 16-year-old wanted for “probation violations and under warrants as a runaway” was physically assaulted by a Lansing police officer while forced into the back of a police vehicle. In Oklahoma, “sex-related offenses” are the most common reason police officers lost their jobs and certifications over the last five years, with over 40 officers convicted of such crimes. In Ohio, a physical education teacher was indicted on 36 counts of “gross sexual imposition” for instances involving 88 elementary school students, including 28 first grade girls.

While 96% of U.S. public schools do not practice corporal punishment, a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center reveals that over 600 students were physically disciplined in school in 2013-2014. Students of color and students with disabilities are disproportionately subjected to corporal punishment, and black girls are over three times as likely as white girls to be struck by an educator.

Chicago police in public schools have failed to adopt four out of five policy recommendations made by the Office of the Inspector General a year ago, according to Inspector General Joseph Ferguson. “The fact that there seems to be no meaningful engagement of the community in conversation around these very important issues and programs within the department, has itself become highly problematic,” Ferguson says. Just months ago, CPD officers were shown brutally assaulting a 16-year-old girl at West Side high school, which resulted in a federal lawsuit against the city.

In Binghamton New York, where four black girls and one latinx girl were stripped searched in their middle school earlier this year, Color of Change and NAACP-Broome Tioga protested the “unsafe learning environment for black students and students of color” outside of the Binghamton City School District.

Responding to a lawsuit filed by parents of four girls who were bullied after being “pressured into sexual contact” that was secretly filmed and distributed online, lawyers for metro-Nashville’s public schools argued this “does not rise to the level of sexual harassment.” Documents presented by an attorney on behalf of the girls reveal “over 950 instances of sexual harassment, 1200 instances of inappropriate sexual behavior, 45 sexual assaults and 218 instances of inappropriate sexual contact documented by the district from 2012 to 2016.”

In New York, groups like Girls for Gender Equity, are celebrating some wins in their fight for the “Schools Girls Deserve.” A new expense budget for fiscal year 2020 includes $857,000 to fund Title IX officers in New York City. NYC currently has only one Title IX Coordinator overseeing 1,800 schools and 1.1 million students – a point GGE has reiterated time and time again and that was reinforced by the stories girls and young women shared at a rally and court hearing GGE organized in April. For the first time since Giuliani was Mayor, NYC is drastically changing the way police officers operate within schools. The new agreement “limits situations in which police can send students into the criminal justice system for low-level offenses and discourages school officials from making referrals to the police for minor misbehavior.”

Health and Safety

According to the Trevor Project’s first national survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, 39% of LGBTQ youth “seriously considered attempting suicide in the past twelve months.” For transgender and non-binary youth, that number was over 50%. These concerningly high numbers are worsened by conversion therapy – which is still allowed in 32 states. Youth who had undergone conversion therapy constituted 42% of youth who had attempted suicide compared to 17% of those who had not had conversion therapy. 57% of trans and GNC youth reported attempting suicide as a result of conversion therapy.

Vanessa Ford of the National Center for Transgender Equality, and Becca Mui of GLSEN, discussed how schools can support transgender students on the EdSurge “On Air” podcast. In Arizona, 13-year-old non-binary middle schooler Santi Ceballos joined a lawsuit challenging an Arizona policy that kept sex ed courses from teaching LGBTQ inclusive information.

With the exception of Maryland, all states are facing the loss of federal Title X funding if they refer patients for abortion, tell patients where abortions can be obtained, or if they provide abortion care in the same facility as prenatal care or other health services. This “abortion gag rule” particularly affects low-income communities of color, who are largely served by Title X. This adds to the fact that women using Medicaid, especially black and latinx women, “may be disproportionately funneled into Catholic facilities by their insurance plans” where hospitals generally won’t provide abortion services if there is a fetal heartbeat.

Despite all the attacks on a woman’s right to choose, Maine, New York, Illinois, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Nevada are all expanding access to abortion care.

Child Welfare

The latest report in the Chapin Hall Voices of Youth Count series, Missed Opportunities in Youth Pathways Through Homelessness, highlights recommendations for changes to the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA). In Washington State, homeless teens are often caught between juvenile detention and shelter hopping.

American Indian children and black children are overrepresented in the foster care system, according to data from the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. The new California state legislature’s budget includes funding for a statewide crisis hotline for foster youth and caregivers, a project that was vetoed last year by then Governor Jerry Brown. Governor Gavin Newsom has until July 1 to sign the budget bill.

OPPORTUNITIES

WATCH

BOOKMARKS

  • High school valedictorian Rooha Hagher’s graduation speech was cut off by school officials when she started naming victims of police brutality
  • High school senior and enrolled member of the Cowlitz Tribe, Rosalie Fish, ran for missing and murdered indigenous women and girls at her school’s track and field meet
  • The Black Girl 44 Scholarship aims to make collegiate internships more accessible to Black girls by awarding several $1,500 scholarships to students for Fall 2019
  • Survivors of abuse, including an athlete abused by Larry Nassar, were among those involved in crafting a new “Safe Sport policy” for USA Gymnastics
  • Maryland, Hawaii, and New Hampshire will now have a nonbinary gender marker option on their state identifications
  • In one of four legal challenges to Trump’s ban on transgender individuals in the military, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that discrimination against a person’s transgender identity is a form of sex-based discrimination
  • The Annie E. Casey Foundation released its newest Kids Count Databook, measuring state trends in the well-being of children across the country
  • The US State Department released the Trafficking in Persons 2019 report with country-specific profiles that include areas for improvement in the prevention of and response to human trafficking
  • In Minnesota, a newly approved task force will focus on the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls
  • The American Psychoanalytic Association issued a public apology for considering homosexuality a mental illness in 1969 and “conflating sexual orientation with gender identity”

UPCOMING

TAKE NOTE

“Nobody is going to listen to me. As a teenage girl nobody has to care what I say. But when I run about it, people will notice.”

Source: Rosalie Fish

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