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Jul 27, 2015 Becky missed school to visit her childhood home with her mother, whose memory was fading due to a degenerative brain disease. Megan missed school because she was put on doctor-ordered bed rest due to pregnancy and delivery complications. Luke was tardy to several periods because he was taking long routes to class to avoid a group of kids who were bullying him because of his sexual orientation. Becky, Megan, and Luke were all charged with Failure to Attend...
Jul 9, 2015 I recently visited a facility in California where I was told about a girl in custody who staff described as a troublemaker, refusing orders to sit down or cooperate with staff in any way. She was on the verge of being charged with new crimes in the facility for fighting with staff—charges that would likely have resulted in more severe punishment than her original offense.   But that week her facility happened to be piloting the only evidence-based health...
Jul 7, 2015 After decades of mass incarceration, policymakers around the country are realizing the unintended consequences of using the criminal justice system to deal with the social and public health problems of homelessness, drug use, mental illness, and poverty. Despite the advances of criminal justice reform, however, there are increasing efforts to criminalize pregnant women who are at risk for negative birth outcomes, particularly targeting women who use drugs...
Jun 19, 2015 No country incarcerates more women than the United States. Although American women comprise just five percent of the total global female population, we represent nearly a third of the world’s female prisoners—a rate that outstrips even America’s unprecedented incarceration of men.   Shocking as that may be, our drive to incarcerate doesn...
Apr 21, 2015 The Department of Justice’s recent announcement of an investigation into truancy court and juvenile district courts in Dallas County, Texas is big news in juvenile justice circles. Texas—which enacted a series of juvenile justice reforms between 2007 and 2013—is nonetheless one of only two states in the...
Apr 1, 2015 Last week, the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ) held a press conference to unveil its strategic plan to make Illinois communities safer and improve outcomes for justice-involved youth. I was honored to join Ryan Shanahan, Vera’s Center on Youth Justice research director, and our government and project partners in presenting the plan.   Last fall, IDJJ Director Candice Jones enlisted Vera and the Chicago-based...

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