Connecting CEEAS Staff to Social Justice Work around the US
September 15, 2019: Newsletter #1 (for the 2019-20 School Year)
If you come across articles that you'd like me to share with others, feel free to send them my way, and I'll include them. I'm hoping to send out an update every two weeks. We'll see.
What Juvenile Justice Needs: Care Not Cages
A Flawed Approach to Juvenile Justice Here in New Orleans
In Pittsburgh...Well, it looks like there's a school similar to Travis Hill
Post publication, this article was criticized (rightly) for not even asking the question of why the students were in the jail at all. Sadly, no one asked the other question that seems right--since young adults up to the age of 21 are eligible to receive a free high school education in Pennsylvania, how come the school isn't also serving students aged 18-21.
A Tale of Two Cities--A Look at New York's Close to Home Initiative from the Eyes of a Milwaukee Advocated
In Wisconsin, as the state makes plans to close its long-term state facility (under intense pressure from advocacy community after long-standing practices including the use of pepper spay, solitary confinement, and other physical violence were exposed), Milwaukee residents are asking tough questions about what the reforms will really look like. Below are two articles highlighting the work that's been done in NYC over the last 5 years to reduce incarceration and keep NYC children 'close to home' and out of the update juvenile correctional facilities...
Ear Hustle Episode 31: Inside Music
December 28, 2017: Newsletter #6
Ear Hustle: A Podcast from San Quentin
A Cell Block for Young Men Holds Promise: A Better Option for Incarcerated Teens and Young Adults
This article highlights a program in a Connecticut prison (that is going to be piloted in Massachusetts, as well) where teens and young adults up to 24 are housed in a separate unit--with incentives and educational/vocational options designed to support skill development and successful transition and re-engagement upon release.
At OJC, we are hoping to work with the Sheriff's Office to create a 'school tier' where the 18-21 year-olds we work with will be consolidated onto one tier. This is going to take some time, but if we can do it, we will then work aggressively to change the culture and punitive nature on that tier to look a feel something more akin to that portrayed in this article.
A Really Good Long-Term Plan for Louisiana's OJJ facilities: Close Them and Convert Them
As many of you know, in New York, years of advocacy led to a movement called Close To Home, under which young people adjudicated delinquent stopped getting sent 'upstate' to juvenile correctional facilities. Instead, nearly all of them stay in or around New York City, in smaller, safer, community-based facilities. We can make this happen in Louisiana, too. And when that happens, here's a blueprint on what to do with Swanson facilities (at Monroe and Columbia): http://nationswell.com/empty-prison-growing-change-farm/
Project Nia: Restorative Justice and the End of Juvenile Incarceration...
Locked In: Students in Dallas Youth Correctional Center Not Allowed Outside for Months
This article is yet another reminder of what happens when adults charged with caring for the well-being teens and young adults forget about who they are and look at them as less than human and less than their own. It is also a bitter punch to the gut for those of us who work with and interact with the 16 and 17 year olds held at OJC--where, there too teens can go months and months without getting outside. https://www.dallasnews.com/news/crime/2017/12/21/cruel-unusual-dallas-county-juvenile-detainees-locked-indoors-months
Just In Case You're Interested: Coates and West in Jackson (Mississippi)
October 29, 2017: Newsletter #5
We're Not Alone--Harnessing the Power of Art and Creativity in Juvenile Justice Settings
This article highlights efforts to integrate the arts and creative expression into schools and therapeutic programming inside of juvenile justice facilities around all around the country. Enjoy.
Fight Club: A Harrowing Series Chronicling Violence and Disregard for Teens In Florida JJ Facilities
These articles and videos are gut wrenching and difficult to take in. Christy, Kat and I have worked in a number of facilities in Florida. We have reported abuses and determined not to continue to work in some facilities; in others, we've tried to support good teachers and school leaders, encouraging them to be agents for change and decency in violent and dysfunctional systems. I encourage everyone to set aside some time to read and review this series.
Malcolm Jenkins: Arguing for Bail Reform
Malcolm Jenkins speaks out for bail reform, an issue that is, as most of you know, is need of major fix-up in New Orleans.
Piling On: Charging Youth In Illinois JJ Facilities as Adults
This article highlights, tragically, what happens when prosecutors and correctional officers team up to use the adult criminal justice system, instead of hard to implement, but sound and well-researched youth development practices to improve institutional culture and climate.
Shelby County Juvenile Detention Center: Trying to Overcome a Long Legacy of Injustice
This article chronicles the ongoing struggle in Shelby County, Tennessee, to reform its juvenile justice system. Much of this struggle rings true to our work at YSC and more broadly in the city.
Rise Up: Just in Case You Haven't Seen It and Want Some Inspiration...
October 7, 2017: Newsletter #4
Teaching about Injustice in Chicago Public Schools and Beyond...
Reducing the Numbers of Juvenile Offenders Sent to Long-term Facilities...
Here's Pew Charitable Trust's report on the success of Georgia, Utah, Kentucky...and other states in reducing the number of teens sent away to long-term post-adjudication facilities.
In this article, Washington Post summarizes of the latest data nationwide. Juvenile crime is down, along with rates of long-term post-adjudication confinement. After nearly a decade of declining rates of juvenile incarceration, the research is now very clear: sending youth who make mistakes--even those who commit serious crimes--away (incarcerating them) doesn't reduce crime or make our streets or cities safer. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/10/03/good-news-fewer-and-fewer-young-people-are-getting-incarcerated/?utm_term=.80449833ef16 What does work? Investing in them, supporting them, making schools work for them.
End Life Without Parole for Juveniles, Cut Down the Long-term Plea Deals
Eric Alexander talks about accepting a 25 year plea deal in order to escape a life sentence--when he was just seventeen years old. Too many of our students also face untenable plea deals--and are agreeing to long-term sentences that don't fit remotely the crimes they are being charged with. http://jjie.org/2017/10/04/we-can-hold-youths-accountable-without-life-without-parole/
Pushing to End Solitary Confinement for Teens in Arkansas
Just to lighten it up...Here's Tank And The Bangas: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert
August 27, 2917: Newsletter #3
Bryan Stevenson and Facing our Legacy of Lynching
This is a deep, moving but hard to read piece--about lynching, sins, a longing to forget. But it also, largely, is about Bryan Stevenson and his work at EJI to make sure we don't hide from our past. Facing our Legacy of Lynching
Back to School After Charlottesville: Time to Disrupt....
150 Years is Long Enough: It's Time to Close the New Jersey Training School for Boys
Rethinking How We Treat Violent Offenders
Let Prisoners Learn: Funding School for Incarcerated Adults
What's going to happen if lots of the residents held at OJC who are over 21 and not eligible for k-12 funding want to get an education? Somehow, we'll have to convince the courts, the City, the public at large that they are worthy of adult education funding. Here's a look how this is playing out positively in New York.
August 13, 2017: Newsletter #2
Ending Solitary Confinement for Juveniles-
The research is incredibly clear: solitary confinement doesn't result in safer, healthier facilities; it does lasting damage to young people who are subjected to it. It's got to stop, and around the country things are moving in the right direction. Ending this practice remains a challenge at OJC and to some degree at YSC. Marshall Project: Ending Solitary for Juveniles
Racial Disparities Work in South Dakota
Across the country--particularly in the northern plains and the southwest--Native American kids are locked up a at high rates, just as African American kids are unfairly pushed into the juvenile justice system in cities like New Orleans and DC. Here's a look at what some people are doing to address this in South Dakota.
Apprenticeships in New York City
We need to ban the box, we need to help the formerly incarcerated with training, support, transportation--there is plenty to do. At a basic level, we need companies, community groups, churches, nonprofits to open their arms and welcome folks home, as humans. Here's a where one New York City initiative is early on.
Closing the Youth Camps in California
Many of you are aware of the mostly terrible conditions that confront youth in Louisiana who end up in the state's long-term youth facilities. As we advocate for better schools in the state's facilities, we should be considering another option: shutting them down entirely and keeping young people closer to home, in smaller, community-based facilities that are easier to monitor and hold accountable, and offer improved options for successful transition.
July 17, 2017: Newsletter #1
So, from the last couple weeks or so...
California: Mandating that kids who are locked up have access to the internet
Louisiana State Office of Education wants to hold the schools in its long-term jj facilities accountable--We'll see!
Rethinking Transition: Develop Agency and Sense of Self-Worth
The author argues that employers and agencies crafting re-entry programs should focus on understanding and developing a sense of agency in men and women coming out of prison--and not merely teach them over and over how to be good employees. I agree.
Breaking the Silence: Ethan Ashley Confronts the Silence Around 37 Teens Who Have Been Shot in New Orleans This Year
Ethan Ashley, Orleans Parish School Board member, who will be at Travis Hill on August 31st as our Read-Aloud guest, says too many young people in New Orleans are getting shot and not enough people are outraged. He's right.
Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girls Childhood
A very hard (disturbing) study that offers some explanations as to why so many more black girls compared to white girls end up in the juvenile justice system.