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IN BRIEF

“Forty years ago, this system did not exist” (Emily Kassie, Detained)

new multimedia reporting project from The Marshall Project and The Guardian looks at the United States’ history of immigrant detention, and how in just four decades, “…a series of emergency stopgaps and bipartisan deals has created a new multi-billion dollar industry built on the incarceration of immigrants.” A new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, finds that migrant children who were separated from their parents at the border, “showed more fear, feelings of abandonment and post-traumatic stress symptoms than children who were not separated,” and that lengthy detention periods exacerbated these symptoms. A federal district court judge issued a final order to keep the Trump administration from eliminating the Flores agreement, which sets limits on the amount of time children can be held in immigration detention. The judge’s opinion stated that the administration’s new Department of Homeland Security and Department of Health and Human Services regulations regarding migrant detention “not only do not implement the Flores Agreement, they intentionally subvert it.”

“Americans may not realize that family separation is nothing new for the roughly 50,000 young people locked up.” (Liz Ryan)

A new study published in JAMA Network Open shows that young people “with childhood history of both parental incarceration and juvenile justice involvement were nearly three times more likely to have depression or post-traumatic stressdisorder.” The study also found that young people of color are disproportionately represented among those who experienced both parental incarceration and juvenile justice involvement. Lead author, Dr. Nia Heard-Garris, says juvenile justice involvement is not currently considered an adverse childhood experience although parental incarceration is: “Given the increased risk for poor mental health outcomes we found in our study, perhaps we should also consider juvenile justice involvement an adverse childhood experience…”

In California, Senate Bill 394 hopes to disrupt the “intergenerational cycle of family separation through incarceration” by creating a “pretrial diversion program for defendants who are primary caregivers of a child.” As mentioned in the article, this would especially impact women, 62% of whom are mothers to children under 18, and youth of color, who disproportionately experience the incarceration of a parent. The bill has passed the California legislature and awaits a signature from Governor Gavin Newsom.

“What I observed [in San Francisco’s Juvenile Hall] was the daily dehumanizing, deadening time that young people spend there.” (Margaret Bodkin)

new proposal by probation officials to add a “detention-based therapeutic program” to San Francisco’s juvenile hall—which is slated for closure by 2021—received wide criticism from the county’s Board of Supervisors and was ultimately nixed by Mayor London Breed. While LA County’s phasing out of chemical agents in juvenile detention facilities began this September, it will not be completely phased out until September 2020 in response to pushback from law enforcement. “Urgency is required here; these youth have experienced too much trauma already,” says Lucy Salcido Carter of the Youth Law Center, “The system should never again add to their trauma through such an unnecessary and harmful use of force.” The California Legislature passed the Getting Home Safe Act, a bill produced in partnership with the Young Women’s Freedom Center to combat the dangerous practice of late night jail releases. The bill would “require local county jails to provide appropriate and adequate resources to people upon release,” and now awaits a signature from Governor Gavin Newsom.

A new report from the Campaign for Youth Justice looks at efforts across the country to “raise the minimum age at which youth can be prosecuted as adults,” pointing out that many states, like Florida and Wisconsin, have no minimum age for prosecuting children as adults. The report details the different mechanisms by which youth are transferred to the adult system and the reforms taking hold across the country to “raise the floor.” It’s been a year since New York’s Raise the Age legislation was implemented and 16-year-olds stopped being automatically charged as adults, and state data show implementation coincided with a decrease in nonviolent felony arrests for 16-year-olds. In a piece for The Appeal, Adam H. Johnson criticizes Pittsburgh WESA’s radio report, “In Pittsburgh, Juvenile Offenders At The Local Jail Go Back To School, Too”: “Caging children in adult jails comes with myriad problems, not one of which is noted in the WESA piece.” Johnson writes that the piece also fails to cite larger problems within the Allegheny County Jail, including reports of abuse and civil rights violations.

School Discipline 

Following up on their 2018 report, Dress Coded: Black Girls, Bodies and Bias in DC Schools, the National Women’s Law Center recently released Dress Coded II: Protest, Progress and Power in DC Schools. The new report “looks at the work activists and policymakers have done and the work that still needs to be done to promote equitable school dress codes in the nation’s capital.” Dress Coded II also highlights the change girls are leading in their communities and the progress made in DC schools, compares public and charter schools, and provides report cards for schools based on their dress codes.

The documentary, PUSHOUT: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools, premiered at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference. (You can find a list of screenings of the documentary here.) Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, who hosted the premiere, says she is “focused on disrupting policies that criminalize Black girls and perpetuate the growing school-to-confinement pipeline.” She plans on introducing legislation in Congress to address this “during this session.”

Six-year-old Kaia Rolle was handcuffed and arrested at Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy charter school for kicking a school staff member who was trying to calm her down after a classroom tantrum. Dennis Turner, the school resource officer who arrested her, arrested another six-year-old child the same day and was fired after an internal investigation. Aramis Ayala, Orlando State Attorney, said the charges against the two six-year-olds will be dropped: “These very young children are to be protected, nurtured and disciplined in a way that does not rely on the criminal justice system.”

In Gouverneur, New York, two girls ages 10 and 11 are facing assault charges for attacking a 10-year-old black girl on the bus and using racially motivated language. The incident is being treated as a hate crime, and a bus aide who witnessed the attack and did not intervene is also being charged for neglect. Ross Ellis, the CEO and founder of Stomp Out Bullying, says bullying should be taken seriously, but should not be treated as a crime: “It’s a terrible thing that happened, but make it a teachable moment.”

“There’s a lot of young kids that make stupid mistakes, and if they could get a second chance at fixing their wrongs, this is a great thing to do,” says Marissa Williams, a volunteer peacemaker for the Red Hook Community Justice Center’s Peacemaking Program. In an effort to combat exclusionary discipline and zero-tolerance discipline policies that disproportionately affect youth of color—and black girls in particular—the Center for Court Innovation is leading over one thousand restorative justice circles in five Brooklyn high schools with high suspension rates. The circles are part of a three-year trial to assess the impact of restorative justice practices on school culture and student outcomes.

Sexual Violence

A new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine finds that 1 in 16 women’s first sexual experience was non-consensual and in their early adolescence. Moreover, participants of the study whose first experience was non-consensual reported having more “unwanted pregnancies and abortions, and more reproductive health problems.” Despite laws that require them, most Kentucky hospitals don’t have a sexual assault nurse examiner on staff, causing hospitals to send sexual assault victims elsewhere. In Texas, new legislation effected in September doubles the statute of limitations for reporting childhood sexual abuse and makes institutions who protect perpetrators liable. Other new laws “create stricter guidelines for testing and sharing information about rape kits,” set timelines for testing rape kits, “implement a tracking system for those rape kits,” and “set up a sexual assault survivor task force and a telehealth call center for sexual assault survivors.”

Reproductive Justice

The U.S. Government Accountability Office, released a new report on student parents. According to the report, 1 in 5 undergraduate students were parents during the 2015-2016 academic year. The GAO report also found that “schools aren’t giving student parents information that could help them access untapped federal money to pay for child care.” Research from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, released earlier this year, shows that the majority of student parents are women and people of color.

The fate of Georgia’s abortion ban will be determined by a federal judge in Atlanta. A federal lawsuit, SisterSong v. Kemp, was filed by the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and other organizations in June. If an injunction is not granted, the law—which would prohibit abortions “as soon as fetal cardiac activity can be detected in pregnancy,” often before women even know they’re pregnant— will take effect in January of 2020. In California, Senate Bill 24—the result of student-led efforts at the University of California, Berkeley—”would require all public universities in the state to provide medication abortion on campus.” The bill, which would apply to 34 campuses, awaits a signature from Governor Gavin Newsom. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments regarding challenges by 23 states and reproductive organizations to the Trump administration’s “domestic gag rule.” The court is expected to make a ruling within a few weeks.

OPPORTUNITIES

WATCH

BOOKMARKS

UPCOMING

TAKE NOTE

“If someone were to support you and allow you to express yourself freely, it can create a sense of safeness. And by creating that ‘safer’ space, it enables people to allow themselves to feel comfortable and good. It allows people to understand they don’t have to abide by other people’s standards.”

Source: Chloe Pine, 16, Dress Coded II

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