All in Ideas and Opinions

Schools resolve conflicts by getting kids to talk things out

Schools across the country are moving away from an era of zero-tolerance policies and shifting toward methods that involve restorative justice, encouraging students to resolve their differences by talking to each other rather than resorting to violence. In New York City, five schools that have implemented this system are already seeing results. NewsHour Weekend's Megan Thompson reports.

Massachusetts Pols Like German Justice Approach To Young Adults

BOSTON — The day after state lawmakers unveiled a compromise criminal justice bill in late March, the architects of that reform package joined Massachusetts court and corrections officials for a trip to Germany to study youth prisons there.

Last week, trip participants gathered to reflect on their experiences — including observing a trial and touring prisons — and what lessons Germany might have for criminal justice policy here.

The rise of restorative justice in California schools brings promise, controversy

Teachers and administrators have come to realize that a student’s range of experiences — their home life, their neighborhood and the overall atmosphere of the school — has an outsized impact on their behavior in class. Research shows that by gaining insight into these experiences and building stronger relationships with students, educators can address a number of behaviors without having to resort to suspensions and other punitive methods of discipline.

How juvenile offenders end up in detention or stay in the community


CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -When some people think of juvenile justice, they think of a revolving door that allows kids to stay in the community after they've been arrested for breaking the law,"The juveniles are not being held accountable for their crimes is a major issue in Mecklenburg County," said Marcus Philemon of CharMeck Court Watch.But juvenile advocates say there's a system in place that holds kids accountable for their actions while getting help they need.

Michigan lawmakers should lose no more time giving 17-year-olds access to juvenile court

Michigan is one of only five states that automatically prosecute all 17-year-old offenders as adults. Lawmakers introduced bills last year to raise the age of adult criminal liability to 18, but put the discussion on hold while a consulting firm conducted a cost study to determine the proposal’s financial impact. The study’s completion in early March has put the ball back in the legislature’s court. Although imperfect, the study can help policymakers with their efforts to enact the change, and Michigan should lose no time in joining the other states that have already done so.

How to Stop Locking Up Kids

Prisons are factories of abuse and violence in this country, says Norris, and we must fundamentally rethink how and why we use them. “Our hope is to bring in a whole new status quo—which means, not ‘alternative,’ which means a new main thing,” he says. “And I think that main thing should be centers of opportunity and restorative justice.”

Cuyahoga County looks to Dayton as model for rehabilitating youth, reducing juvenile crime

A Jan. 8 riot at the Juvenile Detention Center - coupled with a rise in violent crimes involving juveniles - has reignited calls for reform from O'Malley and city council members. The Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court's administrative judge said she would be open to a process to allow dangerous inmates to be held in a separate wing at the adult Cuyahoga County Jail. But that would require a change in state law, and advocates argue it would run counter to the juvenile court's core mission of rehabilitating young offenders.

O'Malley pointed to the Montgomery County Juvenile Court's Intervention Center as a possible inspiration for criminal justice reform in Cuyahoga County. The Intervention Center assesses young offenders in the hours after an arrest to determine if there are any underlying issues -- such mental health or behavioral issues, or problems at home or at school -- that could be addressed through specialized services.

Is it now inevitable that all states will raise the age?

This year, legislators in both New York and North Carolina took great steps towards improving public safety and providing meaningful rehabilitative services to young people across their states. Elected leaders in both of these states raised the age at which youth will be handled in family court, joining the growing national consensus that youth under 18 years of age should not be in the adult criminal justice system.