Thursday, January 31, 2008





In 10 days we will enter into our 16th year of living with life without parole. Never in my wildest dreams did I believe that we would still be enduring this nightmare. I entered into this so naive to think that justice would prevail. After all, isn't this right promised to all Americans......justice for all!

The frustration of not being able to do anything to save your own child is sometimes almost unbearable. You want to just run up and down the street screaming at the top of your lungs how unfair this is and will someone please do something! Then there are other times you slip into such a depression that you wonder how can I go on with this any longer. Of course, what keeps you going on is the fact that your son is depending on you to correct this horrible inequity. Just the thought of the month of February approaching makes you wish you could just sleep through the entire month and pretend it never happened. Oh, the hindsight......and you go over it and over it in your mind, of woulda's and shoulda's, torturing yourself with what you didn't do. The blame and guilt comes over you like a plaque because we didn't have the money to buy his justice.

There is no giving up and after all the depressed thoughts, despair, and disappointments have faded once begin again and pray that one day soon you will see him walk through those prison gates and into the arms of the family that loves him.
(quote from Chris's mother, Pam)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008



Incarcerated since a child, intoxicated on PROZAC, given to him by a physician, with NO instructions as to how to take this drug, NO instructions of adverse "reactions", NO side affects, nor contraindications of. Kurt Danysh, ONLY 17 DAYS after taking PROZAC, he was involved in the death of his father, whom he loves so dearly.
Kurt's irratic behavior was quite strange and odd, from the norm, says family and friends.
Kurt was sentenced to 22 1/2 to 60 yrs prison term, he is going into his 12th year of incarceration in Frackville, PA.
Please note of over 1800 cases involving deaths/tragedies
due to intoxication of these drugs
KURT IS ASKING FOR YOUR HELP, in submitting an appeal on his case.
He requests to have an open mind about his case, if you will read the details on his website, and his S.A.V.E. project, Stop Anti-depressant Violence from Escalating
Kurt's main website
THE S.A.V.E. Project
Discussion forums

Click on main website above for case details


An absolute MUST READ, pictures included in this document, of children sentenced to life in prison with NO chance of parole, at 13 yrs of age.


WASHINGTON (AFP) — More than 70 inmates in US prisons were 13 or 14 years old when they committed their crimes -- too young to drive or watch a scary movie but old enough to spend the rest of their lives in jail, according to a report.
This situation does not exist anywhere else in the world, according to the report by the Alabama-based Equal Justice Initiative.
Over the course of a year lawyers with the group, which specializes on defending the poorest citizens, pored over legal files across the country to uncover the number of young teens tried and convicted as adults.
At least 2,225 juveniles aged 17 or younger have been sentenced to life imprisonment with no possibility of parole, a punishment forbidden by the UN Convention on the Rights of Children, which the United States has not ratified.
Among those juveniles, 73 were under the age of 15 when they committed the crime. And half of them are African-American, hardly representative of a society where 12 percent of the population is black.
The teens have all been incarcerated with adults, where they face the same risk of beatings, rape and abuse as their elders. Some have attempted suicide.
"This is an unintended and disastrous consequence of prosecuting children as adults: children too young to drive, or even see a scary movie by themselves, are being sentenced to die in adult prisons," said EJI director Bryan Stevenson.
Most often the juveniles participated in crimes in which an adult was killed. Considered therefore as guilty as an adult, they were sent to prison based on mandatory guidelines that in some states judges cannot change.
The EJI report mentions the case of 14 year-old Ashley Jones, who helped her boyfriend kill her grandfather and aunt, and seriously wound her grandmother.
Jones' life had been marked by beatings by her father, rapes by her father-in-law, and threats from her drug-addicted mother. But once her guilt was established, the judge had no choice: life in prison with no possibility of parole.
In most cases, the severity of punishment can also be explained by the incompetence of defense lawyers, according to the report.
A defense lawyer in the southeastern state of Florida urged Ian Manuel, 13, to plead guilty in a case in which an accomplice wounded a woman, assuring him that he would not get more than 15 years in prison. Instead Manuel was sent to prison for life, and the attorney has not appealed the case.
In 1988, the US Supreme Court ruled that juveniles aged 16 and under at the time of their crimes could not be sentenced to die. In 2005 this ruling was broadened to cover all minors, under the argument that they did not have the necessary maturity to be fully responsible for their acts.
"We think the analysis the Court employed, in that case, is applicable to life in prison for 13 and 14 year old kids," said Stevenson.
"We believe that the penalty is inappropriate for older teens as well, it's just that the courts tend to deal with these issues in smaller bites."
:arrow: :arrow: Life in prison without parole is "a different kind of death penalty, death in prison rather than by execution," Stevenson said.
EJI lawyers have filed appeals in courts across the country contesting the constitutionality of the harsh sentences for those under 15.
"We expect to start getting rulings next year," said Stevenson, who hopes the Supreme Court will eventually rule on the issue.

Hosted by Copyright © 2007 AFP. All rights reserved.

There are heartwrenching stories and pictures of America's children simply thrown away.

(Thanks to our advocates on "my space")

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Where are America's "DEFENDERS" FOR "CHILDREN"?

Just how many more children will be sacrificed, for more limelight, more fatter wallets, and $$$$ in big pharma's pockets??? Let's make 2008, a positive year for the "children"...........They ARE this nation's "future"!!

In all the elections activity going on, what candidates have the "children's issues" a priority??? Juvenile law reform is urgently needed, the system is BROKEN!!! Present day laws, judges and prosecutors continue to arrest, try, convict and sentence "children" AS ADULTS, they clearly are NOT....THIS MUST CHANGE, The nation's children need YOU to help, PLEASE make YOUR voices HEARD!!!

Monday, January 28, 2008


The California State Senate will vote on a bill (Senate Bill 999) authored by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) to end sentencing children to life without parole, a practice outlawed in most of the world.

If you are in California, please call your Senator in your district and ask them to support Senate Bill 999 - Vote YES on SB 999. Pat Williams who works with the Juvenile Justice Foundation stated that they did not vote today but will vote some time this week. She called Senator Leland Yee's office and they said calls to your senator will really help!! Here is the district map

Click on your area and it will tell you who your Senator is and how to contact him/her.Please pass this on to anyone who lives in California or who knows anyone here.There is more on Senator Yee's page (on the right "Senator Yee fights life sentences for youth") and a link to an article, "Los Angeles City Council Supports Bill to End Life Sentences for Youth."

(Courtesy of our advocates on "my space")

Sunday, January 27, 2008


SEE COMMENTS SECTION, click on the link below

Tho this incident is such a tragedy indeed, this is a "child" who needs "help". I see hatred, vengenance in the previous comments, no one has a right to take the life of "yet" "another" child. YES, what he did was "wrong", but to "destroy another life" for "life in prison" is barbaric and inhumane. What do the churches on just about every street corner mean to anyone anymore???? Let the "healing" begin with "this child"
The Associated Press
Published: January 27, 2008
Broward County prosecutors said Friday they have offered to try as a juvenile a 12-year-old boy accused of fatally beating his toddler cousin, if he pleads guilty to second-degree murder. Police say the boy, whose name is being withheld because he is a minor, struck 17-month-old Shaloh Joseph to death with a baseball bat while he was babysitting her on Jan. 4. If he accepts the deal, the boy would go to a juvenile facility for 1 1/2 to 3 years before being released on probation, prosecutor Maria Schneider told Circuit Judge Charlie Kaplan during a hearing Friday. Prosecutors could still take the case to a grand jury if the offer is rejected, but both sides have said they do not want to rush. They agreed Friday to extend until Feb. 18 the deadline for prosecutors to decide whether to charge the boy as an adult or juvenile. If he is charged with first-degree murder and later convicted, he would face a mandatory life term. Shaloh's family has said they want the boy to be tried in the juvenile system.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Projection for my annual MOTORCYCLE JOURNEY FOR JUVENILE JUSTICE" in 2008.

To raise awareness for "juvenile justice", fundraiser for kids "canteen fund", and visit some imprisoned children on my biker travels...

"FUND RIDE" FOR JUVENILE JUSTICE PLEDGE 1.00 A MILE........for each 1.00 one pledges, is that mile I will ride IN YOUR NAME, in support of our on going CANTEEN FUND PROJECT". The imprisoned children will be notified of who has contributed, by first name and state, the donation came from. A "donation worksheet" will be posted, so anyone can see what has been donated so far. Worksheet will be posted on this thread. Please reference link and worksheet below

Your contributions can be sent to: If you have pay pal ........... knightgale© subject line....."RIDING FOR JUSTICE" FOR money orders or checks: Please contact me at for my postal address.

If you have questions or in need of assistance please contact me at or yahoo IM........knightgale1

Knightgale-credibility/verification-contact Susan at


Many thanks,

Friday, January 25, 2008


ONE of the many that illustrates just how "broken" this so called justice system really is!!!! the growing up life of a "child", you cannot expect a child to never throw a tantrum, but to be handcuffed and hauled away as if they were little criminals, is BARBARIC!!!! Teachers and school officials can't handle a 5 yr old????? Why would authorities even need to be involved in this issues...........THIS IS ASININE AND RIDICULOUS, and very emotionally TRAUMATIZING to this "child". ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!!!!Officials themselves are COMMITTING A CRIME against this "child".!!!!!

NEW YORK — Police and school officials are investigating a mother's allegations that her 5-year-old son was handcuffed and taken to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation after throwing a temper tantrum in his Queens kindergarten.Jasmina Vasquez tells the Daily News her son, Dennis Rivera, was "scared to death" by the Jan. 17 incident at PS 81.Police spokesman Paul Browne and a city Education Department spokeswoman declined to discuss specifics Thursday, saying the incident was under investigation.Vasquez says she and a baby sitter raced to the school after a guidance counselor called her to say Dennis was being taken to the hospital. The baby sitter says she found the 68-pound boy in handcuffs.Vasquez said the hospital evaluated and released the boy, now in private school.


Case details.... Sexually molested by her own father, since the age of only 8 years of age.........

PLEASE, take 5 minutes, and write a letter to the Govenor, he is leaving office, the request for clemency/pardon from Stacey, has been in the Gov's office since 1998....10 yrs waiting for an answer.......PLEASE HELP US FLOOD THE GOV'S OFFICE WITH SUPPORT FOR STACEY.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
``Ask Gov Blunt to Pardon Stacey Lannert Before He Leaves Office This is a great time to write to Governor Matt Blunt and ask him to pardon Stacey Lannert BEFORE he leaves office. Please Sign the petition!

PLEASE Write a short letter to Governor Blunt!
The Honorable Matt Blunt
Governor of the State of Missouri
P.O. Box 720
Jefferson City, Missouri 65102-0720

PLEASE Do it today! Thanks for caring about Stacey Lannert.


California can sentence criminals under 18 to life without parole. It's cruel and unusual punishment.
January 16, 2008

California is paying a heavy price for its get-tough-on-crime attitude, with an underfunded and overcrowded prison system, the nation's worst recidivism rate and a rotten international image as the state with the highest death row population. But of all the inequities of a dysfunctional penal system and harsh state laws, few can touch our predilection for discarding the lives of children who commit crimes before they're old enough to fully understand the consequences of their actions.

Sentencing youths under 18 to life without the possibility of parole is a violation of international law that has been banned in nearly every country in the world except this one. A recent report by Human Rights Watch identified just seven people outside the United States who have been subjected to this cruel and unusual punishment -- but it found 227 in California, which leads the nation in juvenile injustice.There are a number of reasons for California's sad history of youth incarceration, though perhaps the biggest is that Los Angeles is the birthplace of modern street gangs, which recruitteens and turn them into homicidal child soldiers. In addition, state law includes an unusually high number of "special circumstances" that increase the penalties in homicide cases.

Youths 16 and 17 who are convicted with special circumstances are sentenced to life without parole (adults in such cases would be eligible for the death penalty).Not long ago, scientists thought the human brain was fully developed by early adolescence. But modern technology, allowing more sophisticated brain scans, has shown that isn't true. Parts of the frontal lobe involved in inhibiting impulses and appreciating consequences aren't fully formed in most people until they hit their early 20s. Rash, risky and even illegal behavior is commonplace among teens. Few go so far as to commit murder, and those who do obviously must face serious penalties, but it is perverse to condemn a minor to prison for life for committing a crime that he or she might find unthinkable on reaching adulthood.A bill before the state Senate, which will expire after Jan. 31 unless it's approved by a two-thirds vote, would correct this injustice.

SB 999 from Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) changes the sentence for those under 18 who are convicted of murder with special circumstances to 25 years to life. It's a lengthy term but still assures that those eligible for parole would have a chance to turn their lives around. Critics object that the bill would only encourage youth violence and gang killings, but there is little evidence that harsh penalties quell such behavior. Stronger community anti-gang programs are a better approach.
Source (


PLEASE do not miss reading this page

Child Sponsorship ProgramEnrich your life and that of a needy child on one of our reservations. JOIN SOTY'S CHILD SPONSORSHIP PROGRAM!! There is no charge – it's free! Too many children on the reservations of North America struggle to live daily with hunger, malnutrition, lack of proper clothing, care or concern for their welfare. It is hard enough being a child in this environment where the majority of families live beneath the poverty level guidelines in this nations.Thousands of children live on reservations where infant mortality and teen death by suicide is at the highest national average. This is a frightening reality for thousands of Native American children growing up without hope for any kind of future. It is hard for those of us who do not live on a reservation to imagine what their lives must be like.For far too many families, there simply is not enough food to go around. Over 80% of families must depend on extremely limited government funds and food commodities to feed their children. The majority of households are lead by single mothers or grandmothers trying to raise more children than they can feed properly. In the winter and on birthdays and holidays too many children lack needed warm clothing such as winter coats and boots. Most don't receive birthday presents because there simply is no money for such luxuries. What would it be like to live in an environment where having three meals a day is a luxury? Could you imagine that? For far too many – one meal a day is a luxury! YOU CAN CHANGE THE LIFE A CHILD ON ONE OF NORTH AMERICA'S POOREST RESERVATIONS BY BECOMING A SPONSOR – THERE IS NO CHARGE BUT PLENTY OF REWARD!

Please contact us at Save Our Tribal Youth (SOTY) to find out how you can sponsor a boy or girl by supplying them with a birthday present, food or clothing. In return, not only will you be supplying much needed assistance, you will have the unique opportunity to develop a cultural friendship of support and concern with a child who desperately needs your care.

Sagkeeng First Nation of Manitoba, Canada
The Pine Ridge and Navajo Reservationsas support grows so will this program to other reservations.

Contact us here at our Myspace page or sotykids© or saveourtribalyouth©

Thursday, January 24, 2008


One would think of all people, the officials would want/be willing to do DNA testing
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ By Laurie Kellman, Associated Press January 24, 2008 WASHINGTON - Marvin Anderson and other men exonerated by DNA evidence said yesterday that they want Attorney General Michael Mukasey to start doling out federal money to help states analyze evidence that led to other convictions.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


This consideration is long overdue in ALL states, we have always advocated for these children to be "at least" "offered" a "chance", tho under the present day law, they are given NO chances, NO guidance, NO counseling, NO rehabilitation, with many being totally abandoned by their own families, with NO visitations, NO mail, NO canteen funds, left in such a foreign world, only to "die" in prison. Juvenile Justice Law "REFORM" is imperative, to help "save" our nation's children. We do NOT condone any crime, and punishment is warranted, if in fact 100% guilty of, but punishment should be administered as a "child" they are, along with guidance, counseling, educational and rehabilitive efforts, to help them become a "productive" member of society. The present day treatment of juveniles in this nation, is barbaric and inhumane. Sentencing with NO "chance" for redemption, is "state sanctioned" murder of these children. Unfortunately, the U. S. is the world's leader, in incarcerating juveniles as adults, with over 2,000 serving life and life with NO chance of parole, leaving them to "die" in prison, for "mistakes" "made" as a "child".
Young killers could get new chance at freedomJanuary 23, 2008
Michigan's teenage killers serving life sentences with no chance of parole would be given a chance to regain their freedom under legislation set for consideration in a state House committee today.
The legislation would scale back one of the key measures enacted in the 1980s to deal with public fear over a rise in violent crime committed by young people. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Paul Condino, D-Southfield, said Tuesday that it is "sad and tragic" that juvenile criminals are being locked up for life, with no chance of rehabilitation or the opportunity to contribute to society.
The legislation would make juveniles who were tried as adults and convicted of first-degree murder eligible for parole consideration. One bill also would grant similar opportunity for those convicted of life-without-parole offenses at 17.
Among the backers are the ACLU, the Michigan Catholic Conference and juvenile-rights activists who complain that treatment of juvenile criminals in Michigan in particular violates international standards.
But the measure faces long odds for approval because of opposition from law enforcement agencies and advocates for victims' rights.

By Dawson Bell



Silent marches are important ways for us to remember the victims, but we will ever really achieve anything to prevent these crimes if the Legislature fails to pass tougher crime laws year after year."

Rep. Pine has authored "Karen's Law," a House Bill package that includes a mandate for juvenile offenders accused in cases of first and second degree murder and first and second degree sexual assault and other heinous crimes, be immediately waived from the Juvenile Court System and tried as adults. While it is unknown if these bills would have an affect on these cases, Rep. Pine believes it is time to overhaul our entire criminal justice system.
- Rebecca Erickson

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

CHILDREN SENTENCED TO LIFE W/OUT PAROLE A teen's crime, a lifetime to pay New sentencing rules won't help 48 offenders


In a nation like ours, we believe in giving kids second chances. Our laws, however, don't reflect this commitment. Today, the U.S. is the only Western nation that allows for children to be sentenced to life without parole.

Monday, January 21, 2008


"In SC and other US states, children as young as 10 are being arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced as adults under mandatory sentencing mandates. Children are being sentenced to mandatory terms created to net young people involved in gang violence and the drug trades. Children are being sentenced to life without parole. Often under the influence of prescription drugs, otherwise average and above average children commit unthinkable crimes. These children are then thrown into a court and sentencing system designed for hardcore adult criminals. Mandatory sentencing does not take into consideration the past non-violent social history or the effects strong prescription drugs have on young minds. The results are ruined young lives. We need your support.

Please sign this petition and lend your name to the pursuit of Juvenile Justice."

Written/submitted by Janet Sisk, founder of Justice for Juveniles Foundation
Mike Maloney/supporter/sponsor

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Laws "governing" children must/need reform, present day laws, sentencing children to life and life with NO chance of parole, is "state sanctioned" murder, I truly hope MORE people will wake up and get involved in these issues, BEFORE the next child could be YOURS. PLEASE, educate yourself, and GET INVOLVED and support this bill. Children DO deserve at the very least a "chance" to PROVE themselves, and the offer, of becoming a productive member of society. NOW, THEY ARE GIVEN "NO" CHANCES AT ALL.........THIS IS INHUMANE!!! The officials DO HAVE NOT THE RIGHT, to take "another" life, and call it JUSTIFIED!!!!!BUT, they continue to get away with it, under the present day laws........THIS MUST CHANGE, and that change must begin with you and me.

Senator Yee fights life terms for minors
Watchdog advocates for juveniles denied the possibility of parole
By Steve Geissinger,
Article Last Updated: 01/16/2008 02:35:18 AM PST

Sara K. says that if she was freed from prison she would try to help children who find themselves in the same terrible circumstances she had to endure as a young teen. But Sara doesn't ever expect to be free. She is among 227 people in California serving life sentences without parole for crimes committed when they were ages 14 to 17. Sara's crime? At 16, she killed her 31-year-old pimp, who steered her into prostitution over three years. "I definitely know I deserve punishment," Sara, now 29, said in an interview taped by the group Human Rights Watch. "But I'm going to die here."

Human Rights Watch released a 100-page report, along with recordings of juveniles sentenced to life terms, at a Capitol news conference Monday. The event coincided with an announcement by state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, that he will move forward with a bill, SB999, that no longer would allow anyone younger than 18 who commits murder with "special circumstances" to be sentenced to life without possibility of parole.

Sara's special circumstance was that she planned the killing.

Yee, a child psychologist, insists teens still in their formative years should not be barred from a chance for parole. "Adolescent impulse control, planning and critical thinking skills are still not yet fully developed," Yee said. "Children have an extraordinary capacity for rehabilitation." Yee's bill — which still would allow judges to sentence juveniles to 25 years to life, but with the possibility of parole — is backed by child advocacy groups.

"Sentencing children to life without parole means they will die in prison, without the possibility of a second chance at life," said Elizabeth Calvin, author of the report. "The public can be kept safe without locking children up forever for crimes committed when they were too young to vote, drink or even drive."

But victims rights groups oppose the measure, saying it would allow parole of those who committed murders with special circumstances that include gang, cop or hate killings. "When they do these violent, brutal crimes, I don't care what age they are," said Maggie Elvey of Crime Victims United. "They need to be held accountable and that means never getting out of prison." Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has not taken a position on the measure.

To reach the governor's desk, the bill would have to receive two-thirds majority votes in both houses of the Legislature because it alters Proposition 115, approved 18 years ago by voters. A two-thirds vote would require the support of a few Republican lawmakers, which may be difficult for Yee to obtain. Assembly minority leader Mike Villines, R-Clovis, voiced opposition to the bill after its introduction last year. Villines says Californians "should not have to live in fear that these criminals could someday be back out on the streets."

Nearly all the world's inmates who were juveniles sentenced to life terms are in the United States. Human Rights Watch said they total about 2,380 — with all but seven in the United States. The organization said most nations outlaw the practice. In the United States, the Supreme Court has barred the death penalty for minors. Nationally, New York, Colorado and the District of Columbia have prohibited life sentences for juveniles. Other states are considering changes such as those proposed by Yee, including Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska and Washington.

Sara holds out hope that someday maybe California will change its law and give her a second chance. "The way I think now is very different than the way I thought then," she said in the taped interview. "I do whatever I can to be a better person."

Human Rights Watch said statistics obtained from the California Department of Corrections showed nearly half of California youth sentenced to life without parole for involvement in a murder did not actually kill the victim. Many were convicted of felony murder, or for aiding and abetting the murder, because they acted as lookouts or were participating in another felony when the murder took place. The organization also said California has the worst record in the nation for racial disparity in the imposition of life without parole for juveniles. African-American youth are serving the sentence at a rate that is 18 times higher than the rate for white youth. The rate for Latino youth is five times higher.

The Human Rights Watch report can be found at _________________

Friday, January 18, 2008

Florida Law Students/Children in Prison Rehabilitation Act of 2008

This is a crucial venture, and truly hope something positive will come out of it, for the sake of incarcerated in children in Florida. LIFE AND LIFE WITHOUT A CHANCE OF PAROLE SENTENCINGS IS "STATE SANCTIONED" MURDER!!

Article published Jan 17, 2008 FSU law-school students work to redeem futures of juvenile convicts Bill Cotterell Capital Curmudgeon A team of Florida State University law students has come up with what seems like a cautious, sensible solution for preventing a few — very few — young criminals from wasting their lives in prison. The plan has some experienced sponsors in the House and Senate and there doesn't seem to be any logical argument against it. So, in an election year, that means you have to contemplate the illogical arguments. Namely, politics and the campaign pollutants spewed by the shadowy committees known as "527s." Outlining the plan Here's the idea behind the Children in Prison Rehabilitation Act of 2008: If you were 16 or younger when you committed a crime, and you are serving 10 years or longer, you can be eligible for parole after eight years. That's all, just eligible — no guarantees you'll get out. Oh, and you can't have been convicted of a sex offense, assault on a law-enforcement officer or elderly person, or be classified as a "habitual offender." Finally, you have to keep a clean record in prison and show some rehab, like getting a GED. In other words, the bill recognizes that even the worst 15-year-old thug might, at 23 or 24, be a different person. Since the Supreme Court won't let a 16-year-old be sentenced to death, life without parole is the next best thing — and richly deserved, sometimes. A new social reality Law professor Paolo Annino and Donna Duncan, a third-year law student who worked as a correctional officer at Union Correctional Institution and the Wakulla prison from 1994 to 2001, have no illusions about the kind of inmates they're talking about. Pick up the paper almost any day and you'll read about teenagers doing things that would make Sweeney Todd barf. "We've got 122 prisoners doing life without parole who were 16 or younger at the time of their crimes," said Duncan. "We're not trying to release them. There are a few who should be given an opportunity to earn it, and that's all we're seeking." It's not in the bill, but another aspect of this idea is that people go through a lot of change from their mid-teens to mid-20s. There is evidence that brain chemistry and activity is different in adolescence, just as it is in extreme old age. "What the bill does, it says, 'Look, we've got a new social reality when someone is 24 or 25,'" said Annino. "The focus is not on paroling them, but on rehabilitation. This bill is very stringent on who will be eligible for parole, only the kids who can establish that they've got their lives back on track." Duncan said the five law students working on the project enlisted Rep. Will Kendrick, R-Carrabelle, and Sen. Steve Geller, D-Cooper City, to sponsor their bill. It will be a tough sell in the Legislature. On the attack Suppose you're a member up for re-election; you don't want people saying you voted to release convicted killers after only eight years. Technically, the bill can be read that way, if you disregard all the requirements and exclusions. That's where the 527s come in. The name derives from the section of the tax code involving these electioneering committees that amass vast sums, often from one or two special interests, to finance mass-mail and TV campaigns. They don't tell you how to vote, just suggest that you call a candidate and tell him or her to (a) stop being such a dunce or (b) keep fighting for Florida families. (Like they might not, otherwise.) In this example, sleazy is easy. The attack ad might feature grainy black-and-white shots of a famous killer grinning or scowling — Ted Bundy would be a good choice — interspersed with shots of children at play. The script might say, "He voted to turn convicted killers loose after eight years. Let's tell him our kids don't need him freeing criminals back to our neighborhoods...." Kendrick laughed about that prospect. He said his bill wouldn't mean a mass exodus of maniacs. "We sort of say one size fits all, currently," said Kendrick. "This would just give the Parole Commission the opportunity to look at these files." Fate rests with two Crists Ultimately, the bill's chances depend on two guys named Crist. First, there's Sen. Victor Crist, R-Tampa, who chairs the Senate justice-appropriations committee. He's been skeptical in the past but, with safeguards built in, maybe he can be persuadable. And then there's the governor they called "Chain Gang Charlie" when he was in the Senate, the man who made the "anti-murder act" the first new law he signed last year. If they're on board, this idea might avoid the "soft on crime" label. If not, the FSU law students have had a useful academic exercise. Contact Bill Cotterell at (850) 671-6545 or bcotterell©


Posted on Fri, Jan. 18, 2008
Kids killing kids tests justice system

He stands 4-feet-11 and weighs 90 pounds. He reads Hardy Boys mystery novels. He watches TV cartoons.
Depending on an upcoming decision by Broward prosecutors, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.
A 12-year-old Lauderhill boy, who has been charged with killing his 17-month-old cousin Jan. 4 with a wooden baseball bat, is the latest preteen who may face adult time with grown-up prisoners. The state's juvenile justice system provides few other options.
''This type of case challenges all of us -- prosecutors, public defenders and judges,'' said Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein, whose office is defending the boy.
Said Frank Orlando, a retired Broward juvenile judge who now heads the Center for the Study of Youth Policy at Nova Southeastern University's law school: ``This isn't the last time this is going to happen. There are a number of states that have so advanced the issue of how you deal with these kids that it makes Florida look silly.''
The 12-year-old was arrested by Lauderhill police one day after he called emergency dispatchers to report that a toddler he was baby-sitting apparently had stopped breathing. He was charged with first-degree murder, and Broward prosecutors have yet to decide whether he will be tried as an adult or remain in juvenile court.
If he is indicted as an adult, and convicted of first-degree murder, a judge may have no choice but to sentence him to life imprisonment. Another Broward youth, Lionel Tate, received such punishment until then-Gov. Jeb Bush commuted his sentence, partly in response to widespread condemnation.
A Miami-Dade boy, Michael Hernandez, was arrested in 2004, one day after his 14th birthday, and charged with killing his best friend with a knife in a restroom at Southwood Middle School in Palmetto Bay. Hernandez will be tried as an adult and faces a life sentence.
Dan Mears, who worked for about three years with delinquent youths in Texas, and now teaches criminology at Florida State University, said such cases are ''outliers,'' and present far greater challenges to judges, prosecutors and youth corrections administrators than most youthful crime.
''These are just hard cases,'' Mears said. ``The public wants punishment. But these kids don't fit in the adult world, in an adult prison. They don't fit really well in the juvenile system, either.''
The public, Mears said, wants children who kill to have their lives ``deep-sixed for a while -- and it's hard to generate sympathy. No matter how much the kid is a kid -- no matter how much they can be rehabilitated -- people want 10 or 15 years out of the kid's life, maybe more.''
Children's advocates, and even some lawmakers and youth program administrators, shudder at the prospect of a prepubescent child never seeing life outside of prison.
The Broward boy's alleged crime, said former state Rep. Gus Barreiro, ``is horrific for the family of the baby, and horrific for this 12-year-old boy.''
''But we have to have a threshold, as a society, where we will not make a decision to throw away the key on a 12-year-old,'' said Barreiro, who now runs a treatment program for young offenders in North Miami.
The parents of 17-month-old Shaloh Joseph have asked that the boy not be prosecuted, or that he remain in the juvenile system.
Orlando, who served as a juvenile judge for more than 20 years, said Florida has been slow to embrace new policies or sentencing options that have been successful elsewhere.
One program, sometimes referred to as blended sentencing, allows judges to send young offenders to juvenile camps to serve their sentence until juvenile court jurisdiction expires -- at age 21 in Florida. Then, if the crime was particularly egregious, the offender can either serve additional time, or a long probation, in the adult corrections system.
A 2001 study of youths given extended sentences or probation in the adult system in Minnesota found that most offenders had committed violent crimes, such as second-degree assault or aggravated robbery.
Mears said such sentencing protocols often are ``attempts to create laws that provide middle ground.''
In general, Mears said, juvenile justice systems provide more rehabilitative and treatment options than adult prisons do, and some scholars and policy analysts regard them as more likely to turn a child around.
Attorney and children's advocate Levi Williams said he has followed the 12-year-old's case with mixed emotions.
After the Lionel Tate case, Williams said activists and legislators had the perfect opportunity to push for changes in the law. But it didn't happen.
''After the cameras fade and the sound bites are done, we lower ourselves into apathy,'' Williams said. ``And we don't follow through with activism.
''I think it's unconscionable to put a 12-year-old child in adult prison,'' said Williams, who has gotten several calls from civic groups for advice on how to rally on behalf of the child.
Some states do not permit the transfer of young children into adult court, even for premeditated murder.
In New Mexico, a child must be at least 15 to be tried as an adult, and even children who commit atrocious crimes remain in juvenile court, where they are released no later than age 21.
''We would not prosecute a juvenile at 12 years old in adult court,'' said Tom Swisstack, a state representative from Rio Rancho who also is director of Albuquerque's juvenile detention center. New Mexico's juvenile justice laws ''are geared toward rehabilitation,'' Swisstack said.
Swisstack said that, to date, no kid released at 21 after a murder conviction has been rearrested for a similar offense.
''We are a poor state, but we try to intensify services for kids,'' Swisstack said. ``We don't just open the door and say goodbye.''
Miami Herald staff writer Natalie P. McNeal contributed to this report.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Unfortunately, this mode of treatment is happening all across the U. S. in many states, so what is happening to combat this growing problem?, not only are young inmates forced into isolation, but many are beaten, raped, and some even have died behind cell bars. Tho in many cases, incarceration is justified, but the added punishment and the way young inmates are handled on a daily basis, cries out for "change", humane ways to deal with this youngsters. As stated in the article...."nothing good" happens. To what "good" end does it do, to isolate a young inmate 23 hrs a day, 7 days a week?, for IE, over 1 1/2 yrs, such is this, of a case in S. C.

Jan. 16, 2008, 2:29AM
Watchdog slams TYC use of isolation for young inmates
© 2008 The Associated Press
AUSTIN — The Texas Youth Commission has increased its reliance on solitary confinement for trouble-making inmates while sometimes neglecting the treatment services that are supposed to accompany such isolation, the agency's independent watchdog said.
Ombudsman Will Harrell said the commission has embraced the use of isolation as a form of punishment, despite promises of reform within the state's juvenile prison system.
Solitary confinement has increased at units throughout the state, but the practice was most notable at Units I and II of the McLennan County State Juvenile Correctional Facility, Harrell said. At those units, unruly youths can be held individual cells for as long as 23 hours a day.
"They're taking policies from (the adult prison) and applying them to TYC," Harrell said. "It is straight-up isolation for the sake of punishment. ... You can put kids in isolation to separate them from other youth or from staff for safety reasons, but you can't just leave them there.
"And don't lessen their programming. You enhance it. You address the issue that's driving the kids to be disruptive."
The number of TYC inmates in isolation has increased from 52 in August to 82 in January, according to agency records obtained by the San Antonio Express-News.
Richard Nedelkoff, a juvenile justice expert who was appointed the TYC conservator in December, said he was troubled by Harrell's findings but said they would need to be investigated before he can respond.
"The end result could be that it was a bad policy or that it appeared bad but was justified or something in between," he said. "It will take a little bit of time, not a lot, maybe 35 to 40 days to gather the information."
Under TYC rules, unruly inmates can be held in solitary cells for up to 90 days as part of a Behavior Management Program. The program requires a due process hearing and proof that less severe measures failed. The program is accompanied by intensive individualized treatment services from a team of caseworkers, psychologists and educators.
Harrell said staff members started making complaints last fall about the number of young inmates being placed in the programs without the proper protocol.
He said he notified Dimitria Pope, the agency's acting director, in November with a warning that some inmates were placed in the programs without due process hearings, psychological evaluations or individualized treatment plans. Others didn't meet the criteria for the program.
Harrell said Tuesday that conditions had not improved. Pope could not be reached for comment.
Barry Krisberg, president of the California-based National Council on Crime and Delinquency, said solitary confinement has been roundly condemned by courts in the juvenile justice system.
"Nothing good happens when you isolate youth," he said.

Monday, January 14, 2008


More and more states should certainly investigate present day juvenile justice laws.

National News
Bill would end life sentences for Calif. youth
By Charlene MuhammadStaff Writer
Updated Jan 14, 2008, 10:13 am



Youth advocates are placing hope for new beginnings in a proposed bill that would end life sentences without the possibility of parole for youth offenders.
State Senator Leland Yee (D) introduced the California Juvenile Life Without Parole Reform Act as part of a year of reform legislation. “Sen. Yee’s a child psychologist by profession and a lot of his bills have to deal with mental health and especially children.Because of brain development not being fully there, he thought that it was pretty insane for juveniles to be locked up and the state to throw away the key,” said Adam Keigwin, communications director for Sen. Yee............


More and more states are sentencing "children" as an ADULT, some states, as young as 7 yrs old, can be sentenced as a adult, and holding children in "schools" to a "zero tolerance level".
BULLYING........HAS BECOME AN EPIDEMIC IN THE SCHOOLS, just where do you think children learn bullying "from"???? "Zero" means "perfection"? I think not, everyone makes mistakes, that is part of this life, but NOT given ANY CHANCES, to turn their "lives" around, sending them to life and life with NO chance of parole ever, is barbaric and inhumane, a direct violation of their "constitutional amendment" rights.
Juvenile advocates do NOT condone any crime, allegdedly done by children, we do not advocate the guilt or innocence in their case, but we strongly advocate keeping their cases in "juvenile court", for the "child" they are. Children are NOT adults, and "deserve" at least " an offer of a chance", to become a productive member of society. To help them, instead of "contributing" to their "destruction", which is "state sanctioned abuse and murder"!Until these present day barbaric laws get changed, there will be more and more children, destroyed by abuse and murder behind bars.YOUR CHILD "COULD" BE NEXT.....

Just how many more children will be sacrificed, for more limelight, more fatter wallets, and $$$$ in big pharma's pockets??? Let's make 2008, a positive year for the "children"...........They ARE this nation's "future"!!
In all the elections activity going on, what candidates have the "children's issues" a priority??? Juvenile law reform is urgently needed, the system is BROKEN!!! Present day laws, judges and prosecutors continue to arrest, try, convict and sentence "children" AS ADULTS, they clearly are NOT....THIS MUST CHANGE, The nation's children need YOU to help, PLEASE make YOUR voices HEARD!!!

Saturday, January 12, 2008




This coming March 7-9 a new International West Memphis Three fundraising event will be celebrated: the "Free the WM3: ROCK FOR FREEDOM WEEKEND". ( Rock for Freedom Weekend) Myspace site: The event will be celebrated, as other fundraising events in the past have, with Supporters, all over the World, holding shows and concerts to raise money for the West Memphis Three Support Fund.


FINAL JUSTICE FOR THIS CHILD, 18 yrs in prison, for a crime he did NOT committ, at the tender age of 17.

January 12,
2008 Editorial

True and Untrue Confessions
What did Martin Tankleff look and sound like when he confessed in 1988 to bludgeoning and slashing his parents to death? Did he seem like a killer or a confused 17-year-old being pressured into admitting something that he did not do? We’ll never know. There is no video or audio recording, just an incomplete narrative, handwritten by detectives, which Mr. Tankleff signed, quickly repudiated, and spent nearly two decades trying to undo.

Mr. Tankleff, now 36, was released from prison this month after a New York State appeals court overturned his murder conviction, ruling that new evidence would likely have led the jury to find him not guilty. The district attorney, Thomas Spota, then announced that he would not pursue the case. After spending half his life behind bars, Mr. Tankleff is free, and his parents’ killer or killers presumably remain at large. His confession came after hours of interrogation during which detectives lied to Mr. Tankleff, telling him that his mortally wounded father had identified his son as the attacker. “Could I have blacked out?” he asked. “Could I be possessed?” Largely on the basis of his own words, he was tried and convicted.

The Innocence Project, the watchdog group that helped to defend Mr. Tankleff, has long argued that false confessions are far more frequent than is commonly believed. The group claims that in more than a quarter of cases in which defendants were later exonerated by DNA evidence, they had made incriminating statements, given confessions or pleaded guilty. Suspects do this for many reasons — because they are coerced, threatened, frightened, drunk or high, mentally impaired or ignorant of the law. Some do it because they have been lied to.
The Innocence Project, many other civil liberties groups and growing numbers of police departments and prosecutors’ offices, argue that interrogations in major criminal cases should be recorded. The practice, they say, would deter false convictions by discouraging misconduct and manipulation by the police. It would give judges and jurors a tool to assess a confession’s authenticity. It would protect the police from false claims of abuse, create a clear record of suspects’ statements and it would bolster public confidence in the legal system.
Illinois, Alaska and Minnesota are among more than 500 jurisdictions that routinely record police interrogations. A bill that would require videotaping of questioning in felony cases passed the New York State Assembly last year but stalled in the Senate. The Legislature should promptly revive and pass the bill, and Gov. Eliot Spitzer should sign it into law.

The Tankleff case and the recent high-profile exoneration of Jeffrey Deskovic, who spent 16 years in prison for a rape and murder he confessed to but did not commit, both argue strongly for fixing this glaring flaw in New York’s justice system.


MO has had many articles about their juvenile system being a "model" for other states, again, my question is, WHY IS THOMAS WHITE "NOT" held in "juvenile" status?? at 13 yrs of age????


The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled that a teen accused of taking an assault rifle to Memorial Middle School may not be released on house arrest.
The state’s high court, in rulings this week, did grant a motion filed by White’s attorney, public defender James Egan, that allows the Jasper County trial judge in the case, David Mouton, to hear and decide issues of bond, house arrest or furloughs for the teen.
But the case in Jasper County Circuit Court has been on hold since the boy’s public defenders filed an appeal with the Missouri Supreme Court in September seeking a remand of his case to juvenile court for a new certification hearing. The high court has asked for full briefs from both sides and has set the case for oral arguments on Feb. 28.

Friday, January 11, 2008


Even MORE reason, we should NEVER BE SILENT, continuing to campaign for our nation's children, for JUVENILE JUSTICE "REFORM."


January 08, 2008

2007 was a year of big highs (Travis Hayes is officially exonerated and Marty Tankleff is freed!) and big lows (Barry Beach and Richard LaPointe are not). It was a year where the momentum in the effort to pass legislation to require law enforcement to electronically record police interrogations slowed (only North Carolina enacted legislation, although California and Rhode Island again came close). But it was also a year when the issue of false confessions and recording interrogations penetrated the public consciousness with stories about the Justice Department's firing of US Attorney Paul Charlton, the CIA's destruction of interrogation tapes, the CIA's torture of detainees and the resulting false confessions, and even the Senator Larry Craig fiasco. 2008 has already started with a bang -- Barack Obama, who championed the electronic recording of homicide interrogations in Illinois, is off to a great start in his run for President -- and Marty Tankleff will be officially exonerated in mid-January. I also expect that there will be significant developments in the cases of John Spirko, the West Memphis Three, Juan Rivera, Bruce Lisker, Billy Wayne Cope and other cases of false confessors for whom justice has been denied for many years. Stay tuned. 2008 should be every bit as exciting as 2007.

JANUARY • Mississippi Sup. Ct reverses murder conviction of Tyler Edmonds who at 13 confessed to assisting his half-sister in killing her husband • Marty Tankleff's defense team files its appeal of Judge Braslow's denial of a new trial; 31 former federal prosecutors, numerous exonerated false confessors, Marty's former classmates, and others file amicus briefs in support • Dr. Phil show on Tankleff case and other false confession cases airs • DNA clears Matthew Fields, a Lousville man, who falsely confessed to breaking into a woman's home and raping her • After serving ten years in prison, Travis Hayes of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, is formally exonerated of a murder to which he had confessed and which had landed his co-defendant, Ryan Matthews, on Louisiana's death row • Ozem Goldwire, a Brooklyn man jailed for over a year after police coerced him into falsely confessing to the murder of his sister, is exonerated by prosecutors •

FEBRUARY • Northwestern Law School hosts meeting between Robert Wilson, exonerated after serving nine years in prison for a knife attack, and June Siler, the victim who had erroneously identified Wilson (who also falsely confessed) as her attacker • Almost four years after DNA pointed to another killer, Queens, NY prosecutors drop charges against Lourdes Torres, a 31 year old illiterate Mexican immigrant, who had falsely confessed to stabbing her lover • In aftermath of a botched rape case, Madison, WI police department issues new guidelines calling on its officer to use deception only as a last resort when interrogating rape victims • Daniel Gladden, subject of an investigation by Pete Shellem of the Harrisburg Patriot News, is freed after serving 12 years in prison for a murder now believed to have been committed by a known serial killer; in exonerating Gladden, prosecutors must renounce confession of James Carson, who falsely confessed and implicated Gladden •

MARCH • For 3rd year in a row, Rhode Island Senate passed bill requiring electronic recording of murder interrogations (once again bill fails to become law).

APRIL • DNA exonerations reach 200! • 8 Million Dollar settlement paid to Larry Ollins and Omar Saunders, two of four Illinois teenagers wrongfully convicted of murdering medical student Lori Roscetti • Justice Department's internal debate over whether to require federal agents to record interrogations surfaces in connection with dismissal of eight U.S. Attorneys, after fired Arizona U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton links his firing to his insistence in Arizona that interviews be recorded •

MAY • Byron Halsey, who served two decades in a New Jersey prison after he falsely confessed to the murder and rape of two children, is exonerated by DNA evidence which also identifies the true perpetrator • James Owens, imprisoned for nearly 20 years for a rape-murder in Baltimore, MD, is granted a new trial after DNA evidence excludes him and his co-defendant James Thompson (who falsely confessed) • Cook County, IL. prosecutors, in trial of Juan Luna for the murders of seven people in a Brown's Chicken in 1993, shred false confession of earlier suspect John Simonek • Wisconsin Criminal Justice Study Commission release Postion Paper on False Confessions • Kenzi Snider, a former Marshall University student, who was accused of killing another student in Seoul, South Korea in 2001, files suit against FBI agents who allegedly coerced who into falsely confessing •

JUNE • Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reverses murder convictions of Michael Scott, one of several defendants charged in the deaths of four teenage girls in the "Yogurt Shop" murders of 1991 in Austin, TX. • Barry Beach, imprisoned for more than two decades for the murder of Kimberly Ann Nees, presents his case for clemency based on actual innocence to the Montana Board of Pardons and Paroles • Broward County Sheriff's Office pays $2.7 million to settle claims of three men who were wrongfully incarcerated for sixteen months based on false confession • Sacramento DA drops conspiracy charges against teens in non-existent revenge plot at McLatchy High School, admitting that law enforcement officers obtained two false confessions from fourteen year olds •

JULY • McKinney, TX officers forced to admit that James Jones, who falsely confessed to a quadruple murder, is innocent after new charges are brought against unrelated suspects • REPORT issued in Jeffrey Deskovic (Peekskill, NY) case lays blame on all parties -- police, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges -- but takes police to task for selectively recording parts of the interrogations and for interrogating Deskovic "in a manner that exploited his youth, naivete, and psychological vulnerability" • Madison County, NY Judge Biagio DiStefano, vacates rape conviction of Dan Lackey (despite fact that Lackey confessed) when new evidence surfaces calling into question the credibility of the victim • Robert Wilson files lawsuit against City of Chicago and Cook County, alleging, among other things, that Chicago police officers coerced him into falsely confessing to the assault of June Siler • James Lee Cox, who confessed to the 20 year old unsolved rape-murder of Karen Weber in Prairie City, Iowa, is released from jail after six months, when prosecutors acknowledge that his confession was false • Gov. Ted Strickland of Ohio grants John Spirko, a death row inmate convicted on the basis of false inculpatory statements, a record-setting seventh reprieve so that extensive DNA testing on items recovered from the crime scenes can be finished; Spirko's execution date is moved to January 2008.

AUGUST • North Carolina becomes the 8th state to require electronic recording of interrogations (in homicide cases) • Trial court judge dismisses post-conviction petition for a new trial of Richard LaPointe, a man many believe falsely confessed to the murder of his wife's grandmother in 1987 • Montana Board of Pardons and Paroles rejects Barry Beach's petition for a pardon or parole, preventing him from receiving any relief from the Governor • Prosecutors in Detroit drop murder charges against Devin Plummer, a 17 year old who confessed to a shooting, after gun residue tests show he could not have fired a gun •

SEPTEMBER • Jeffrey Deskovic, who spent 16 years in prison for a murder which DNA later proved was committed by another man, files lawsuit against Peekskill Police officers who coerced him into falsely confessing • Historic conference in El Paso, TX, sponsored by University of Texas El-Paso and Ohio University, gathers together over 200 psychologists, criminologists, lawyers, police officers, interrogation trainers and others, to discuss research on false confessions and police interrogations • In Fort Worth, toxicology tests clear Brittany Hart, who had confessed to killing Bruce Therens in a motel room • United States Senator from Idaho Larry Craig refuses to resign as planned, choosing instead to recant his guilty plea • Questions begin to surface about the conviction of Claude McCollum of Lansing, Michigan for the murder of a Lansing Community College professor Carolyn Kronenberg in 2005 after police arrest an alleged serial killer (Matthew Macon) in connection with numerous unsolved slayings of women in Lansing • McCollum is later exonerated of the murder after new evidence shows McCollum was in another school building at the time that he claimed (hypothetically) to be assaulting Kronenberg and Matthew Macon purportedly confessed to the killing •

OCTOBER • The same DNA evidence which led a trial court to grant a new trial to James Thompson, Jr. in his 20 plus year old conviction for a rape-murder in Baltimore, MD does not result in a new trial for his co-defendant James Owens (who confessed) • Appeals court hears oral arguments in Marty Tankleff case • Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoes bill to require California law enforcement agents to electronically record stationhouse interrogations of suspects • United States Court of Appeals for Second Circuit reinstates lawsuit of Abdullah Higazy against FBI agent who coerced him into implicating himself in the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Towers • Powerful new evidence of actual innocence is submitted in a federal court in Arkansas in the case of the West Memphis Three; extensive DNA testing does not implicate the three teens convicted of murdering three small boys in a satanic ritual but does lidentify a found on the shoelaces used to bind the boys to the stepfather of one of the victims to the crime scene •


DECEMBER • City of Chicago announces it is prepared to settle lawsuits for $19.8 million of four men who were pardoned by Governor George Ryan on ground of actual innocence after evidence showed that the men had been tortured by former Police Commander Jon Burge and men acting under his command • Court rules that lawsuit of Central Park Jogger defendants may proceed against the city of New York • Kevin Fox, the Fox Lake, IL man who was coerced by Will County detectives into confessing to killing his daughter Ashley, wins civil judgement of $15.5 million against Will County • Marty Tankleff is granted a new trial by New York appeals court (within two weeks, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota announces that he will not try Tankleff, effectively ending Tankleff's long ordeal to be vindicated in the murder of his parents).

By Steven DrizinSource: Northwestern Bluhm Blog


Please take the time to view this incredible art in paper mache' made by some incarcerated youth. The hidden talents and emotions of the young is something to see. Guidance, discipline, rehabilitive efforts for them, can help to become productive members of society, if ONLY given the "chance". Please share with those in your world.

Finding talent in troubled minds

The artists, ages 12 to 17, have been incarcerated for a variety of offenses from felonies to running away from foster homes or drug and alcohol treatment centers.
Some are awaiting trial for serious crimes including attempted murder or murder.

The art program gives these youth the opportunity to express themselves through a creative and constructive outlet, Volz said. "It raises self-esteem," she said. "It introduces possibilities to kids who basically don't have inspiration."

The art program is a collaborative effort between Kids In Conflict, a program for at-risk kids incarcerated at juvenile hall, SCRAP Gallery - the Art Museum for the Environment - and the Coachella Valley Arts Alliance. The art program is funded through a $26,000 grant from the Palm Springs-based Anderson Children's Foundation, said Volz, an art teacher at Desert Art Center in Cathedral City.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


We, juvenile justice volunteer advocates have talked, posted, offering assistance, in any way we can in reference to public awareness, we write letters to the media, and officials at the local, state and federal level, to get people informed about the many juvenile injustices prevailing upon this nation's children.......the continued apathy and passiveness among this society contributes to the doom of many children. The information is out there, constant warnings of info available to everyone.

I truly hope in 2008, many more will WAKE UP, get involved with us, in campaigning to get those barbaric laws changed "governing" children under the age of "18"!!
Many children all across America, many as young as 13, sentenced as "an adult" with "adult" prison terms, many with LIFE and LIFE with NO "CHANCE" OF PAROLE, which is a death sentence within itself, and is "state sanctioned" murder of these children, for "mistakes" made as a "child".

This is "election year", I hope more Americans will become involved and help get the laws changed governing children, Juvenile Justice Law "REFORM" is so desperately needed in this nation!!!

I sincerely hope YOU nor YOUR child will never have to experience the heartaches, and devastation of souls, from the "mistakes" made as a "child.".



"We have been wrong about prosecuting juveniles as adults from the beginning!!" Youth prosecuted as adults are often held in adult jails for months or years, even though most are charged with nonviolent offenses, the report demonstrates. A 17-year-old girl in Wisconsin, for example, served 75 days as a in an adult jail for violating probation by stealing a neighbor's bicycle. In Chicago, a 17-year-old boy was arrested for "armed robbery" after he took a schoolmate's gym clothes, and was detained at the Cook County jail for several weeks. Data shows that tens of thousands of young people end up in the adult system for non-violent offenses.

In 2003, over half the youth in California's adult system were prosecuted for misdemeanors and less than 30 percent received a prison sentence, suggesting that the majority of youth could be safely handled in the juvenile justice system. Of the 8,000 young people who enter Connecticut's adult court system, the vast majority are arrested for non-violent offenses. In 2002 almost 14,000 17-year-olds were admitted to Wisconsin's adult jails but only 15 percent of these youth were arrested for violent crimes. Research-including studies funded by the U.S. Justice Department-show that sending youth to the adult criminal justice system doesn't work to reduce crime. In one study comparing the recidivism of youth waived to criminal court in Florida with those retained in juvenile court, the research found that those in the "adultified" group were more likely to be re-arrested and to commit more serious new offenses; they also re-offended more quickly.

The laws are not evenly applied, with youth of color and those without access to adequate legal counsel more likely to end up in adult correctional facilities. Nationwide, three out of four young people admitted to adult prison in 2002 were youth of color. In Florida, Wisconsin, California, Connecticut, Illinois and North Carolina, youth of color represented nearly or more than 7 out of 10 youth in the adult justice system. Youth of color in Illinois make up just one-third of the general population, but in some jurisdictions make up 9 out of 10 young people in the adult system. The report notes that juvenile judges are frequently excluded from the decision to prosecute youth as adults Instead, prosecutors and state laws determine which youth end up in the adult system, no matter how minor the nature of the offense. In 15 states prosecutors rather than judges have the discretion to send youth to the adult system. In other states, laws have lowered the age by which a youth ends up in the adult court, or they are automatically transferred based on the nature of the charge.

"As a former prosecutor and head of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, I have had the opportunity to witness first hand the impact of trying and sentencing youth as adults," said Shay Bilchik, director of the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform and Systems Integration at the Public Policy Institute of Georgetown University. "While I once supported these laws, their virtual unbridled use has negatively impacted too many young offenders with whom the juvenile justice system could have done a better job in rehabilitating and promoting public safety and youth development.

States need to seriously consider reforming these laws, providing strict guidelines and reintroducing the role of the judge in making these jurisdictional determinations." Jails are not designed to safely hold youth, who are either incarcerated in cells with adults, or separated in forms of isolation that can lead to depression or even suicide. Studies show that youth who are incarcerated in adult facilities are more likely to suffer abuse, become mentally and emotionally ill, and may be rearrested and commit more serious offenses than youth who benefit from the treatment, counseling and services available through the juvenile justice system.

A recent Zogby poll conducted for National Center on Crime and Delinquency finds that 7 in 10 respondents felt that putting youth under age 18 in adult correctional facilities makes them more likely to commit future crime.

"The problem is that we are sending too many youth to the adult court who can be safely and more effectively handled in the juvenile justice system," said Ned Loughran, executive director of the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators. "We have more information and evidence on what works than ever before. Now, we just need to keep this population in the juvenile justice system so they can benefit from all the advances in services and treatment."

The report urges policy makers to take advantage of the shift in public opinion and new adolescent brain development research that inspired the Supreme Court to end the death penalty for minors. The report calls for a ban on the incarceration of youth in adult jails or prisons, and in the rare cases where the seriousness of a crime warrants consideration of prosecution in the adult system, a juvenile court judge should make the decision rather than prosecutors or state law.

"Young people need opportunities to turn their lives around, but these policies rob them of their futures," said Roneka Jenkins, who is 16 years old and attends Thurgood Marshall Academy. "We need to give youth the education and skills to get good jobs and contribute to society. That's best for everyone." (excerpt from another advocate for the "children"