Advocates Want Juvenile Justice Overhaul, Clash Over Direction
When it comes to overhauling its juvenile justice system, Virginia has garnered a reputation as a model of teamwork and progress. Yet even in a state poised to set a national standard, it’s still bedeviled by some of the same problems seen in other states, thanks in part to an outdated national attitude that juvenile offenders only deserve punishment.
“I think that’s why we’re sort of slow to this because our country is still in an Old Testament, crime-and-punishment mentality,” said Amy Woolard, staff attorney and policy coordinator for Legal Aid Justice Center in Virginia. “It’s hard to let go of that.”