Thursday, December 1, 2022

Play

Access to medication is key to HIV prevention, a Florida university uses a religious exemption to disband its faculty union, plus Nevada tribes and conservation leaders praise a new national monument plan.

Play

The House passed a bill to avert a crippling railroad strike, Hakeem Jefferies is chosen to lead House Democrats, and President Biden promises more federal-Native American engagement at the Tribal Nations Summit.

Play

The first-ever "trout-safe" certification goes to an Idaho fish farm, the Healthy Housing Initiative helps improve rural communities' livability, and a new database makes it easier for buyers and builders to find available lots.

Nonpartisan Push to Close VA Juvenile Prisons

Play

Friday, October 2, 2015   

RICHMOND, Va. - The time is right to reform Virginia's juvenile justice system, according to a new nonpartisan coalition called RISE for Youth. The coalition wants to replace the big juvenile prisons with community-based corrections.

States around the country have been changing how they treat young offenders. They're relying less on incarceration and more on reforming the youths' behavior while they stay at home or live close by.

One problem with juvenile prisons, said Newport News Sheriff Gabe Morgan, is that they can turn young scofflaws into hardened criminals - such as a 14-year-old car thief who heard from inmates that he was in prison because he left witnesses.

"The difference now is, he basically shot each of his victims - because he learned he wasn't supposed to leave victims behind," Morgan said. "That young man ultimately was put to death."

Juvenile prisons often were built by lawmakers who wanted to be tough on crime. But Morgan said programs that head off bad behavior can sharply reduce arrests and recidivism - at a fraction of the cost of incarceration.

The RISE for Youth coalition is looking to Gov. Terry McAuliffe and lawmakers from both parties to increase funding for local programs. Some of these coach and support families with troubled children, while others run small residential facilities that maintain the youths' connections to their communities.

About two-thirds of the state's young offenders have mental-health issues, said Legal Aid Justice Center attorney Kate Duvall. She pointed to the case of one young man who was arrested for petty theft and, rather than getting treatment, ended up getting stuck in the system.

"He was ultimately sent to juvenile prison for violating probation by getting suspended from school for bringing a cell phone," she said. "Youth prisons, in fact, don't make our communities safer, and they're a waste of Commonwealth money."

Felony theft in Virginia starts at $200. The group favors raising that threshold. The coalition also wants misbehavior at school to be treated as a criminal issue less often.

Morgan said the next General Assembly could save the state money and keep neighborhoods safer by investing in programs that work. As Morgan put it, prevention is cheaper than corrections.

"Functional family therapy coaches kids and parents together," he said, "and in one study this program cut re-arrest rates in half."

More information on RISE for Youth is online at riseforyouth.org.


get more stories like this via email

In Pennsylvania, a minimum requirement for individuals to become foster parents is for them to pass screenings related to child abuse and criminal history. (Africa Studio/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

The gold dome on the Iowa Capitol has been gilded five times. The gold leaf covering the dome is 250,000th of an inch thick and is 23.75 karats. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

2022 was a banner year for women elected as governor. Nearly one-third of America's governors will be women next year, which is a record. Iowa …


Environment

Residential water rates in Michigan are soaring, with an estimated one out of ten households without access to or unable to afford clean water…

Environment

Fracking is a very water-intensive industry, and a new study dives into the impact of unconventional oil and gas drilling on aquatic ecosystems in …


Tom Oliver, center, receives the 2022 Washington Andrus Award for Community Service. (Bruce Carlson/AARP Washington)

Social Issues

A Bellingham man who supports people with dementia has received one of the most prestigious awards for volunteerism in Washington state. The …

Social Issues

Native American tribal communities and conservation groups got a big win Wednesday as President Joe Biden announced he intends to create a new nationa…

The 2020 Iowa caucuses were beset with tabulation problems, which set off a discussion on whether to shake up the Democratic primary process. (Scoutori/Adobestock)

Social Issues

A decision could come today on Nevada's bid to become the first state in the nation to hold a Democratic primary in 2024. The Democratic National …

Environment

Snow is on the ground in much of Minnesota, but the state is coming off another warm season with notable drought conditions. Those who monitor …

Environment

By Ray Levy Uyeda for Yes! Magazine.Broadcast version by Mike Moen for Greater Dakota News Service reporting for the Solutions Journalism Network-…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021