Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Juvenile Justice System and Education

Stories today:
“Judge who sold kids to private prisons sentenced to 28 years”
“Accused of perpetrating a “profound evil,” former Pennsylvania judge Mark Ciavarella Jr, has been sentenced to 28 years in prison for illegally accepting money from a juvenile-prison developer while he spent years incarcerating thousands of young people. Prosecutors said Ciavarella sent juveniles to jail as part of a “kids for cash” scheme involving Robert Mericle, builder of the PA and Western PA Child Care juvenile detention centers. The ex-judge was convicted in February of 12 counts that included racketeering, money laundering, mail fraud and tax evasion. In addition to his prison sentence, Ciavarella was ordered to pay nearly $1.2 million in restitution”. (http://www.allgov.com/news/controversies/judge-sentenced-to-28-years-in-prison-for-selling-kids-to-private-prisons?news=843116)
“Education: the Key to the Future for Kids in Juvenile Justice?”
“Some 500,000 youth nationwide are detained or incarcerated in juvenile justice (often called juvenile delinquency) systems every year, according to the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. It is a system intended to differ from the criminal justice system. Even the language signals a kinder, gentler approach—defendants face a "hearing," not a trial; they are pronounced "delinquent," not guilty. The goal has historically been rehabilitation, based on the premise that it's not too late for young people to recover and turn their lives around”.
"Education is critical for these kids. If you want to rehabilitate young people, it's the most obvious thing to do,  says Joseph Tulman, professor of law at the Juvenile Justice and Special Education Law Clinic at the University of the District of Columbia”.
“Yet over the past two decades, there have been more than 25 lawsuits against states, charging them with failure to provide adequate education to kids in the delinquency system. Many juvenile incarceration facilities have miserably inadequate education programs," says Tulman. "A huge percentage of kids incarcerated or otherwise in the delinquency system also have unmet special education needs, and there's an astounding lack of advocacy to enforce the rights for those kids".(http://sparkaction.org/content/education-key-future-kids-juvenile-justice)
Making a profit off children and neglecting the point of rehabilitation, are evils that have been common and continue to happen. We should not complain about ‘kids today’ if we are not giving them a fair shot at life.
Education is key!
Dr Flavius A B Akerele         
The ETeam

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