Monday, 28 February 2011

Independent Lens | Me Facing Life: Cyntoia's Story | Clip 1 | PBS

Independent Lens | Me Facing Life: Cyntoia's Story | Clip 2 | PBS

Independent Lens | Me Facing Life: Cyntoia's Story | Clip 3 | PBS

In a pretrial interview, Dr. William Bernet listens as Cyntonia recounts a painful past.

In 2004, Cyntoia Brown was arrested for murder. There was no question that a 43-year-old man is dead and that she killed him. What mystified filmmaker Daniel Birman was just how common violence among youth is, and just how rarely we stop to question our assumptions about it. He wondered in this case what led a girl -- who grew-up in a reasonable home environment -- to this tragic end?

Find out more about Me Facing Life: Cyntoia's Story:

Learn more about "Independent Lens":

Watch "Independent Lens" films online:

Handle With Care



When I Die, Please Send Me Home: A Child's Life Without Parole

America is the only country on earth that allows juvenile offenders to be sentenced to Life Without Parole. We have more than 2,500 child lifers - 109 for non-homicide crimes - in 38 states. Some children are simply broken, sociopaths who need to be kept away from society forever. And there are the miscarriages of justice, the kid forced to participate in the horror shows that get people killed, or the kid simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. They are white and black, girls and boys, rich and poor, from the North as well as the South. They are in New Hampshire and Colorado, Florida and Texas. They are very often in California. This documentary is NOT a piece of hand-wringing advocacy. NOT the "Innocence Project". We are not on a mission to spring the innocent. Both the film and the episodic insist on remaining in the realm of discomfort. We are proposing an uncompromising look at what it is to lock up a kid for life, both the "deserving" and the "undeserving", what that means for the kids, for the adults (and the elderly) who have lived behind bars since childhood. And what it says about us as a nation and a culture that we still wield this form of punishment on the unformed. We will also examine the life of the child behind bars, and be present at that moment when the reality of his existence comes crashing down around him: the realization that this is it. The hopes and dreams are gone. Replaced by confinement. Never to marry, never to date. Never to bear children or raise them. (Remarkable and terrifying fact: many juvenile lifers, upon entering prison, are forced to spend their first years - sometimes as many as a decade - in solitary confinement. Not out of punishment but to ready them to survive the prison's general population. Only when they are hardened are they sent out into the yards.) Also, what gets a child so broken that he is able to put a gun to the back of a man's head and pull the trigger? What of his biology, what of his upbringing? Not to say the killers among them are unjailable or unpunishable, but when a kid under 17 goes away forever, we are, for better or worse, extinguishing a flame. And it is a slow execution. So we are interested in locating, if it is findable, the moment of conception of the mistake, or the pathology. We will follow the lives of some of these kids inside ... and the families -- of the victims and the perpetrators both -- on the outside. Are there alternatives for kids like these? Or do we simply throw them in the box and dispose of them?



"Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth. "
— William Faulkner

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Ashley Smith, 19, prison inmate commits suicide by hanging herself in he...

from cbc news:

CBC has obtained dramatic footage showing New Brunswick teenager Ashley Smith, who died in prison in 2007, being pepper sprayed and about to be jolted with a Taser in her cell during the almost four-year period prior to her death.
The video, which will be broadcast Friday night on CBC's The Fifth Estate, was shot by prison staff in New Brunswick and provided to the program with guards' faces obscured and their voices altered.
Smith, who committed a series of minor offences, spent from 2003 to 2006 in two New Brunswick correctional facilities before ending up in a federal women's prison near Kitchener, Ont. She died of asphyxia with a ligature around her neck in her cell in October 2007 at the age of 19.
Her case prompted a probe by New Brunswick's ombudsman and federal correctional investigator Howard Sapers. It also drew widespread criticism about how young people suffering from mental illness or severe behavioural disorders are dealt with by the prison system.
A fellow prisoner in New Brunswick said Smith deliberately provoked guards and repeatedly pretended to choke or strangle herself by wrapping things around her neck. When guards responded, she refused to comply with their orders.
The video shows guards physically subduing her, spraying her with pepper spray and preparing to shock her with a stun gun.
"Ashley was Tasered twice in the space of one month," provincial ombudsman Bernard Richard told The Fifth Estate. "Repeatedly, that was the response to her behaviours.
"I think someone should have clued in that this girl required much more professional help," he said.
Richard said the youth centre superintendent decided to transfer Smith to a federal prison, partly because "without question, they were at wit's end," but also out of a belief it would be better for her.
"They, I think, really felt that she might be able to get more help in the federal system," he said.
After Smith was transferred to the federal prison system, she continued to defy guards and used broken glass to cut strips from her prison gown and tie them around her neck.
Jason Godin, Ontario president of the guards' union, said when guards would go to her aid, they were sometimes attacked.
Godin said guards were eventually told by their superiors not to enter her cell to remove ligatures from her neck.
"Our members were told not to enter Ashley Smith's cell until she stopped breathing," he said.
"There was daily direction given, right from the highest levels of management all the way to the front-line staff that 'You are not to go in the cell. This is your orders,'" he said.
Smith was seen with a ligature around her neck on Oct. 19, 2007, but guards delayed entering her cell until it was too late. She was pronounced dead at 8:10 a.m.

1/11 - When Kids Get Life (in Jail)

In When Kids Get Life, FRONTLINE producer Ofra Bikel (The O.J. Verdict, Innocence Lost) travels to Colorado to profile five individuals sentenced to life without parole as juveniles.

Colorado was an early pioneer in juvenile justice, focusing on rehabilitation rather than punishment. But in the late 1980s and 1990s, when a sharp increase in violent crimes by young offenders attracted enormous press coverage, legislators nationwide clamped down. In Colorado, the General Assembly eliminated the possibility of parole for life sentences and expanded the power of district attorneys to treat juveniles as adults.

In 1992, the United States ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which requires that juvenile imprisonment focus on rehabilitation, but the U.S. reserved the right to sentence juveniles to life without parole in extreme cases involving the most hardened of criminals -- the worst of the worst.

God Cries When We Sentence Youth To Die In Prison

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Cruelty and Death in Juvenile Detention Centers

There have been numerous deaths and acts of cruelty in Juvenile Detention Centers that are often overlooked and under reported. We have uncovered various resources that show how dangerous these centers really are.

The song in the background is "Hello" - Evanescence.

Juvenile Justice - Tried as a child



Sean and Shannon Adamcik
Parents and Advocates of Torey Adamcik

Torey Michael Adamcik was a happy, well-adjusted 16 year old with no history of violence. Today, Torey is facing a life sentence in an adult prison for a murder he didn't commit.

It could happen to anyone...

Imagine your precious child, who has always been a joy and blessing in your life, who has never been in any trouble, meets someone and in six weeks his whole life is destroyed. That’s what happened to our son, Torey Adamcik. Read Torey's Story.

Kids in the justice system

The United States is a world leader in convicting children as adults. Unfortunately, once a child is charged as an adult, the likelihood of a fair trial is very small. The media sensationalizes crimes committed by juveniles, and kids are usually convicted in the press before their cases ever reach trial.

About Tried As Adults

Tried As Adults was founded in 2007 to heighten awareness about children, such as Torey Adamcik,in the adult justice system. Read more about what you can do to help Torey and other children like him.

Help is needed for Torey, and other children like him.

How You Can Help

If you have any information regarding other juveniles who have been charged as adults, please forward us that information. We are trying to start legislating for youths charged in Idaho.
You can show your support by writing letters of encouragement to Torey. We will pass all letters on to Torey.
You can spread the word about Torey’s situation.
You can make a donation to help with Torey's legal defense.
You can contact local legislators to protest youths in the adult system.
Washington, DC, Office
1339 Longworth
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: 202-225-5531
Fax: 202-225-8216

Boise Office
802 West Bannock, Suite 600
Boise, ID 83702
Phone: 208-334-1953
Fax: 208-334-9533

Idaho Falls Office
490 Memorial Drive, Suite 103
Idaho Falls, ID 83402
Phone: 208-523-6701
Fax: 208-523-2384

Twin Falls Office
1341 Fillmore St. #202
Twin Falls, ID 83301
Phone: 208-734-7219
Fax: 208-734-7244

Pocatello Office
275 S. 5th Ave. #275
Pocatello, ID 83201
Phone: 208-233-2222
Fax: 208-233-2095

Craig, Larry E.- (R - ID)
(202) 224-2752

Crapo, Mike - (R - ID)
(202) 224-6142


Common sense says we shouldn’t punish children as adults

Sometimes I feel like I was abducted by aliens and no longer live on the planet I grew up on. One of these times occurred earlier this month, when I read a report of a 17-year-old who got angry and threatened to blow up his high school. He was arrested and charged as an adult for making a false report

Friday, 25 February 2011


Torey Adamcik has never been in any kind of trouble
when he was arrested September 27, 2006 and
charged with first degree murder and conspiracy to
commit first degree murder along with another 16 year
old boy, Brian Lee Draper (Unbenounced to Torey,
Brian had a Long history of violence). Torey went
to trial on May 31, 2007 and was found guilty June 8,
2007 on both counts. Brian's was also found guilty on
both charges, on April 17, 2007. Both teens were
sentenced together August 21, 2007.
Torey has always denied that he had anything to
do with hurting Cassie and was unaware of Brian's
intentions. Torey was play acting on the video tape,
saying things that he knew Brian wanted to hear.
The 30 minuet tape was made in the two days before
Brian killed Torey's freind, Cassie. Torey was never
part of any conversation about hurting anyone, except
on this tape Brian made. Torey said he does not even
remember what all was said on it, he was just talking
and going along with Brian. Torey said that he was
tricked. Brian told Torey, lets take out the humorous
parts and leave only the dark stuff, then he told Torey
prior to restarting the videotape to "say scary stuff". Brian
tricked Torey, that is it, nothing more. Torey is innocent.
There is no physical evidence linking Torey to
the crime. Torey deserved a fair and unbiased trial,
and as we feared a life sentence was handed down on
August 21st by this judge. Torey didn't harm Cassie in
any way, he did not know Brian was capable of such
violence and rage, and he does not deserve to be in
prison let alone life without parole. He's already
spent over 2 years locked up in isolation in adult only
jails (he's allowed out of his cell for only 1-2 hrs
per day). This is cruel treatment of a 16 year old boy
who is innocent of the charges against him.
Jury members admitted to seeing this key
evidence before Torey's trial. Torey was convicted
before he ever reached the courtroom. This videotape
is on the local news station website at:


Sixteen year old wrongfuly convicted, sentenced to LWOP

`Me Facing Life: Cyntoia's Story' screens Thursday -

Beginning with the pretrial, filmmaker Daniel H. Birman documented Cyntoia Brown

Common sense says we shouldn’t punish children as adults - Sun Herald Forum -

Common sense says we shouldn’t punish children as adults - Sun Herald Forum -


ADVOCATES FOR ABANDONED ADOLESCENTS Mission Statement The Juvenile Justice in the United States is certainly in dire need of America's undivided focus and attention, for far too many children are being led into the adult court system and discarded into the adult prison system unnecessarily. So I commend and applaud your efforts to bring a degree of responsibility to the juvenile justice Laws. Though I think it's important that America's focus and attention also include the teenagers that were waived and sentenced to long terms of imprisonment in the adult prison system 15/16/17/years ago. I think Justice for these Juvenile offenders would include Liz Ryan, the Director for the campaign for youth justice called the 2nd look Legislation. '2nd Look' means youth serving long sentences get their sentences reviewed at some point in their incarceration. Would you consider 2nd look Legislation?

Advocates for Abandoned Adolescents: Welcome to My World

Advocates for Abandoned Adolescents: Welcome to My World: "Delaproser - Founder Member of Triple A / Advocates for Abandoned Adolescents. A human and civil rights advocate. The United Kingdom r..."

Amber's Blog: Amber Writes: The Fight

Amber's Blog: Amber Writes: The Fight: "I’ve spent 6 years fighting my case to prove my innocence and to try to save my life. The fight has really taken it’s toll on my family and..."

Blade Reed - Fighting for Humane Treatment

011 | 0 likes, 0 dislikes

This petition is created in support of age and developmentally appropriate humane treatment of 14 year old, Blade Reed, currently housed in the adult maximum security prison, Wabash Correctional Facility, (Carlisle) Indiana.Last December, after pleaing guilty to robbery resulting in severe bodily injury, Blade was sentenced, as an adult, to serve 30 years with violent offenders and sexual predators. It is important to note that Blade is the youngest inmate at Wabash, also almost immediately after the crime, Blade accepted responsibility and displayed extreme remorse for his actions on that fateful day and has continued to do so, ever since. As fellow United States citizens, it has come to our attention that Blade Reed has been issued to serve an entire year in disciplinary solitary confinement after having been involved in three known altercations in the adult prison of which this 14 year old child has been placed. To our knowledge, this means Blade will be expected to survive being locked in solitary confinement with no other human interaction inside a small cell for 23 hours every day for one whole year or more. Under Indiana law, each inmate forced into disciplinary solitary confinement, is released for only one hour per day of which during that hour he will need to shower and minimally exercise. It is unclear, at this point, the conditions of this child's education. Also,there is no guarantee that this one hour will be granted, each day, as a provision exists its implimentation is dependant upon the security status of the overall facility.Exasperating this child's plight is the liklihood this child suffers from undiagnosed mental disabilities. After reviewing court documentation from the court appointed psychologist's evaluation of Blade and from further consultation, it is expert opinion that Blade Reed may suffer from "Asperger's Syndrome (a form or autism) and/or Bipolar Disorder" and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It was the court appointed psychologist's opinion and testimony to the court, Blade Reed "had the social skills of a 10 year old", and that "97% of kids his age, were more socially adept then he was". The psychologist also testified "if Blade develops in an adult center (prison) he will be negatively influenced by other (older) inmates". During his evaluation it was discovered Blade had been severely abused by his biological parents through age 6 and also suffers from ADHD, but had been taken off his medications.In addition, Blade continues to suffer from depression and anger issues resulting from the traumatic (sexual, physical and mental) abuse he endured throughout his entire formative years by the ones who were responsible for shaping the character of this young child.This petition hopes to achieve these goals:1) To have Blade Reed professionally evaluated and treated for possible undiagnosed mental disablilities,2) To re-examine and overturn the assignment of one year in disciplinary solitary confinement for a replacemen

Advocates for Abandoned Adolescents seeks your Support

Advocates for Abandoned Adolescents is currently looking for serious minded people to participate in unifying the United States in accordance with the A.A.A. Mission. A mission that includes having a A.A.A Co-ordinator in all 50 States, bringing awareness to each State's Irresponsible Juvenile Justice Code, highlighting stories of Juvenile Opression and co-ordinating a National March on all 50 State Capitals, unified under the A.A.A Banner. We are seeking people to make A.A.A a success by dedicating their time, hard work and devotion to the A.A.A Mission, a mission that is dedicated to doing better for the thousands of troubled children in and across the US.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

WeReport: "Close DJJ Youth Prisons now!"

Act now to close DJJ youth prisons -

The Ella Baker Center and its Books Not Bars campaign celebrates Governor Jerry Brown's budget proposal that eliminates the harmful, abusive Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) youth prisons.

These testimonies were given on 2/2/2011 for a Budget Subcommittee on Public Safety in Sacramento, California. The three speakers are members of our Families For Books Not Bars.

For more information visit:

Juvenile Sentencing How To Do Things

If you are under 18, how you are charged maybe more important than what you are charged with. It is very significant whether you are charged as an adult or a juvenile because if you are charged as an adult, you could go away—you could go away for life, if it is murder for example. If you are charged

Home: National Center for Youth Law

The National Center for Youth Law works to ensure that low-income children have the resources, support, and opportunities they need for healthy and productive lives.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

juvenile justice Matters

Listen to internet radio with JJ Matters on Blog Talk Radio
The Campaign for Youth Justice is a national organization dedicated to ending the practice of trying, sentencing and incarcerating youth under the age of 18 in the adult criminal justice system. This radio show will feature experts, young people, and parents discussing juvenile justice issues.

He was involved in a minor traffic accident shortly after midnight last Thursday morning February 17th, and fled the scene on foot. A little later at a Pensacola apartment complex, he was arrested and charged with violation of right of way, leaving the scene of a crash, and violation of a driver’s l

City Of Motherly Love

City Of Motherly Love Movie Trailer Official
a natalie paige bentley film
alabama productions

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Pa. judge convicted in juvenile court kickback scheme | Corrupt Authority
A former juvenile court judge defiantly insisted he never accepted money for sending large numbers of children to detention centers even after he was convicted

We must unite against the Law's

We must unite against the Law's that are Disregarding Our Children !

Bloomberg Seeks Control of Juvenile Justice System
Bloomberg said the city can do a better job treating young people who break the law closer to home.

Judge Free on Bail After Convicted of Selling Kids to Private Prison

Daily News @ http://RevolutionNews.US — SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — A former juvenile court judge defiantly insisted he never accepted money for sending large numbers of children to detention centers even after he was convicted of racketeering for taking a $1 million kickback from the builder of the for-profit lockups.

Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella was allowed to remain free pending sentencing following his conviction Friday in what prosecutors said was a "kids for cash" scheme that ranks among the biggest courtroom frauds in U.S. history.

Ciavarella, 61, left the bench in disgrace two years ago after he and a second judge, Michael Conahan, were accused of using juvenile delinquents as pawns in a plot to get rich. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has dismissed 4,000 juvenile convictions issued by Ciavarella, saying he sentenced young offenders without regard for their constitutional rights.

Ciavarella maintained the payments were legal and denied that he incarcerated youths for money.

"Never took a dime to send a kid anywhere. ... Never happened. Never, ever happened. This case was about extortions and kickbacks, not about 'kids for cash,'" said Ciavarella, who plans to appeal.

Federal prosecutors accused Ciavarella and Conahan of taking more than $2 million in bribes from the builder of the PA Child Care and Western PA Child Care detention centers and extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars from the facilities' co-owner.

A federal jury in Scranton convicted Ciavarella of 12 counts, including racketeering, money laundering and conspiracy, but acquitted him of 27 counts, including extortion. He is likely to get a prison sentence of more than 12 years, according to prosecutors — who revealed after the verdicts that a reputed mob boss turned informant helped them make their case.

Parents of juveniles who appeared before Ciavarella were outraged that he was released after the verdicts. Ciavarella often ordered youths he had found delinquent to be immediately shackled, handcuffed and taken away without giving them a chance to say goodbye to their families. Some of the children he ordered locked up were as young as 10.

Sandy Fonzo, whose son was jailed by Ciavarella — and committed suicide last year at age 23 — screamed obscenities at the judge and even poked him as he and his attorneys held a news conference on the courthouse steps.

"My kid's not here anymore!" yelled Fonzo. "He's dead! Because of him! He ruined my ... life! I'd like him to go to hell and rot there forever!"

Ciavarella glanced at Fonzo, then turned his back.

Fonzo's son, Edward Kenzakowski, was a 17-year-old all-star wrestler with no prior record when he landed in Ciavarella's courtroom for possession of drug paraphernalia. She said her son never recovered from the months he served at the detention centers and a wilderness camp.

Tears streaming down her face, Fonzo said she couldn't believe Ciavarella was allowed to walk out of the courthouse.

"There's no justice, there's not. He's never going to get what he deserves," she said. "I just wanted to see him handcuffed and taken out. But when I saw him just being released with that stupid smirk on his face ..."

The jury found Ciavarella guilty of taking a $997,600 kickback from Robert Mericle, the builder of the juvenile facilities — money he was ordered to forfeit to the federal government after the verdicts were announced. He was also convicted of failing to report the payments on his state-mandated financial disclosure forms and failing to pay taxes on the income. Jurors acquitted him of extorting Robert Powell, the facilities' developer and co-owner...

Full Story:


"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Already they have raised up a monied aristocracy that has set the government at defiance. The issuing power (of money) should be taken away from the banks and restored to the people to whom it properly belongs."

—Thomas Jefferson

Time For A New American Revolution?

Daily News & Video @ http://RevolutionNews.US

Follow us on Twitter:

Victims of Judicial Corruption Kids For Cash Prison Slavery Ring, Pennsy...

The Victims' Stories: PA Kids 4 Cash Judicial Corruption Slavery Racket. Personal Stories (2009) + Current Criminal Trial News (Feb 2011). Reload w updates. Judges got nearly $3Million in kickbacks in exchange for sending more kids to juvenile detention centers.

In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1 (1967) was a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision which established that under the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, juveniles accused of crimes in a delinquency proceeding must be afforded many of the same due process rights as adults such as the right to timely notification of charges, the right to confront witnesses, the right against self-incrimination, and the right to counsel.
4.21.2010. Criminal probe of Pa Judicial Conduct Board sought
FBI Seizes Juvenile Centers Records Luzerne County PA, 06/29/2008,
Juvenile Law Center Filings + Updates
Times Leader Luzerne County, All News Articles found at:

Feb 13, 2011. Ordeal of getting 2 judges the cash. In the Luzerne scandal trial, a lawyer and his staffer told about cramming $100s and $50s into a box and cursing.
When Jill Moran went to work for Robert Powell's law firm, she never thought her career as an attorney would come down to this dismaying moment: watching in shock as Powell, cursing and muttering, stuffed wads of cash into a FedEx box that he wanted her to hand-deliver to the president judge of Luzerne County.
"These greedy [expletives] won't let me go," Powell said, his hands full of $100 and $50 bills. "Take this to them, and hopefully it will be over."

More on latest criminal trial, Cited in Video -
- Ciavarella trial: Mericle testifies briefly. Feb 8, 2011
- Prosecutor: Judges turned courthouse into "cash cow". Feb 9, 2011
- Conahan wanted Mericle to change documents. Feb 9, 2011

History repeats, again in mass. The Dred Scott decision legalizing slavery was decided by the Supreme Court while holding court in Pennsylvania.
-- In 1857 the Supreme Court handed down the Dred Scott decision while it held session at Bedford Springs in Bedford, Pennsylvania. Dred Scott and his family walked into the Supreme Court as free people and walked out as slaves. Transferring authority from the parent to the state produced profound subservience and slavery into the entire culture. Millions of American families are now experiencing the very same fate as the Dred Scott family, as "family courts" and bureaucratic slave-makers are committing the very same atrocities in eugenics "kangaroo courts." The Dred Scott decision was also thought to be the true cause of the Civil War, which benefited bankers in the NE.
Eugenics in America: Began in Bedford, Pennsylvania and Continues through its CPS agency (+ juvenile courts) through fraud, abuse, false allegations, denial of due process
Pennsylvania Eugenics
Posted in accordance with U.S.C. Title 17 Chap 1 Sec 107 - Fair use for purposes of comment, reporting, and research. No monies are solicited nor profit made from this post; it is for educational and activism reporting purposes only.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Call for Action Against Solitary Confinement in US Prisons « Kids in the system
Solitary Watch has reported that the American Civil Liberties Union has called on the United Nations to investigate civil liberties violations for US prisoners held in solitary confinement and to put pressure on the US to end this punitive and cruel practice. In the county prison where I worked

Pennsylvania rocked by 'jailing kids for cash' scandal - CNN

At a friend's sleepover more than a year ago, 14-year-old Phillip Swartley pocketed change from unlocked vehicles in the neighborhood to buy chips and soft drinks. The cops caught him.

The fight to save 13-year-old Jordan Brown (Includes interview)
Jordan Brown was 11 years old when he was arrested in February of 2009 for the murders of Kenzie Houk and her unborn baby in New Beaver, PA. As of the 21st of this month, Jordan will have been incarcerated for two years and he is still awaiting trial.

Support 12 Year Old Paul Henry Gingerich
Wandervogel Diary
One of the most stunning realizations coming out of my youth justice work is that it is the so-called “foreigners” of the world who are giving more of themselves to see juvenile justice reform happen in America than most

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Juvenile justice system fails some American teens

The United States Supreme Court is considering changing its laws for juvenile criminals. Right now the U.S. is one of the only countries where juveniles can be given a life sentence without the chance of parole if they're convicted of certain crimes. Many non-profit groups like the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana say that conditions in juvenile detention centers in the U.S. are horrendous and don't help juvenile offenders get better. Louisiana has the highest number of kids getting locked up in the country, most are poor and black.

2/15/11 WV House considers DNA sampling from juveniles

House Bill 3054 deals with the sensitive issue of allowing police to collect DNA samples from both adult and juvenile offenders. In this exchange with Lt. Brent Myers of the West Virginia State Police, Kanawha County Delegate Meshea Poore voiced her concerns it might violate some juveniles' constitutional rights.

STOP HOMOPHOBIC BULLYING IN SCHOOLS - In honor of Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover

Already in 2009, 3 children have committed suicide due to homophobic bullying in school. Carl didn't even identify himself as gay, yet he was a victim of homophobic bullying. THIS NEEDS TO STOP!

Human / Civil Rights: CHILDREN'S HOPE & VOICE
CHILDREN'S HOPE & VOICE: CHILDREN'S HOPE & VOICE ~ A group for the promotion of advocacy for humane treatment of children caught up in the American juvenile & especially adult judicial systems. We believe no child belongs in an adult court. CHILDREN'S HOPE & VOICE i

Michigan holds Teen on False Murder Confessions

I hope your readers took time to read about Devontae Sanford, the special-ed boy who at 14 made a false confession to four drug-related Detroit murders and received a sentence of at least 38 years in prison. Now that Timothy Smothers has confessed to the crime and said that Devontae had no connection with it, and Devontae has recanted his confession, you would think that his mother could expect him home soon. She and Kim McGinnis, the appellate lawyer, believe Devontae wanted to feel important by bragging to the police, without any real understanding of the consequences. McGinness was stunned to find that the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office insists that the guilty plea should stick despite Smothers' confession and the lack of any evidence that Devontae was involved. "They've got an emotional commitment to the result they've already obtained," stated a former Detroit prosecutor. "It's part of the culture." (It's a culture that we see in Berrien County too often.)

Wrongful conviction an example of corrupt system

It's a tragic result for Devontae, as young men in prison are apt to be raped and beaten by adult prisoners. (A 16-year-old from Benton Harbor, sentenced to adult prison for stealing a TV, is now confined in isolation for his protection after suffering brain damage from a battering by three adult prisoners wielding a sock with a padlock in it.)
Devontae and his mother are not the only losers from the prosecutor's refusal to have justice done. Taxpayers will be footing the bill for at least 38 years of imprisonment which, at today's rate of $32,000 a year, will saddle us with an expense of well over $1 million. Let our public servants hear your voice. Wrongful convictions should bring no sense of job satisfaction for prosecutors with a conscience.

Joyce Gouwens
St. Joseph [from Herald Palladium, July 9, 2010]

open letter to tammy « Wandervogel Diary

15 Jan 2011 ... Devontae Sanford 14 year old. False confessions by dysfunctional people are a fact of life. Sanford's confession is about as probative as ... -

Nalini Nadkarni: Life science in prison

Nalini Nadkarni challenges our perspective on trees and prisons -- she says both can be more dynamic than we think. Through a partnership with the state of Washington, she brings science classes and conservation programs to inmates, with unexpected results.

News With Nezua | The Potential for Progress

THE UNITED STATES IS SHAMEFULLY the last nation to keep laws in place that deny the possibility of parole from Juveniles sentended to life in prison. Today, the Supreme Court begins hearing argument on two cases that could change our laws and bring them into accord with the rest of the modern world.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Thank you (A poem to my friends and supporters) for Andre, by Elizabeth Sessions

Thank You (A poem to my friends and supporters)

Thank you all for support.

All is appreciated, esp. for my needs in court.

The blessings of new friends from afar,

Shines so brightly in my cell like the brightest star.

It has given me light when I was in the dark.

Now I can envision me walking with my grandma in the park.

I suffer so much...

And only long for my loved ones to hug and touch.

It seemed so hopeless!

But believing and seeing all the love and unity, I see me coming out of this mess!

Thank you all again for being there,

It's so nice to feel the love and see that people really care!

~by Elizabeth Sessions, copyright 2-18-11 written for Andre Jacobs

CDF Cradle to Prison Pipeline® Initiative Slideshow

Children's Defense Fund's Cradle to Prison Pipeline® Initiative Slideshow
Children's Defense Fund © 2004, all rights reserved. "What About the Children" written by Bebe Winans and performed by Yolanda Adams.

Sentencing 13- and 14-Year-Old Children to Die in Prison

New film documenting EJI's litigation campaign challenging life in prison without parole sentences for young teens.

Caged Kids: Life Sentence -
‎48 Hours: Caged Kids: Life Sentence - 14-Year-Old Charged As An Adult For Killing His Playmate

Dear Mom, Hope all is good with you and family I needed to document whats been going on with me lately concerning Retaliation against me by nursing staff, specifically on 6pm to 6am shift. I exercised my right to file a staff compliant against a nurse who was assigned to me on Nov. 9th 2010

UFFC Campaign Central | Blog | Agencies condemned for treatment of vulnerable boy
The jury at the second inquest into the death of 14 year old Adam Rickwood in Hassockfield Secure Training Centre in County Durham on 8 August 2004 today returned a damning narrative verdict criticising failings by Serco, the private company running Hassockfield, the Youth Justice Board, Prison Serv


Rain, the mother of Jimmy Edwards tells her son's story.

System Failure (Part 1 of 4)

A groundbreaking documentary produced by the Ella Baker Center with our partner, WITNESS, "System Failure" exposes the horrific conditions and human rights violations in California's abusive youth prisons.
For more information -

Should an 11-Year-Old Boy Go to Jail for Life? - Culture - GOOD Brown is set to be tried as an adult for a crime committed when he was 11. He might go to jail for life. America's exceptional like that

Children's talent

Children's talent to endure stems from their ignorance of alternatives.
Maya Angelou

Just Like the Son Trailer

This film chronicles twenty year-old Daniel Carter's (Mark Webber) attempt to help an eight year-old, Boone (Antonio Ortiz), find a better life. Daniel First meets Boone while doing community service at an East Village grade school. The boys strike up a friendship during which Daniel learns that Boone's mother is sick and may be hospitalized. He also learns that Boone has an older sister, Charlotte, who lives in Dallas. When Boone does not show up for school a few days later, Daniel begins to ask questions and learns that Boone was placed into a temporary foster care in upstate New York. After being turned down as an adoption candidate, and failing to convince his Father to help him gain custody, Daniel decides to rescue Boone from the orphanage. He puts all his street smarts to use and they head to Dallas. While the goal is to locate Boone's sister, the heart of the story is the unexpected bond Daniel and Boone form throughout their road trip adventure. This poignant story of unlikely friendship and redemption contains powerful character performances from Mark Webber (BROKEN FLOWERS), Academy Award nominee Rosie Perez (FEARLESS), Brendan Sexton III (BOYS DON'T CRY) and the young Antonio Ortiz (KNIGHTS OF THE SOUTH BRONX).

Friday, 18 February 2011

Children In Jail is Big Business in America

Arresting little boys and girls is big business...Jails, Police, Social Workers, Psychologists, Psychiatrists.. Judges, Lawyers.. They all are making a killing off of our children's backs!

Brandon Hein (Life pt 1)

This is part 1 story of Brandon Hein and the others who were sentenced to life without for a stabbing another man did. 100% injustice!!!DO NOT FORGET TO WATCH PART 2.It is only 3 minutes long!

Brandon Hein (LIFE pt 2)

Part 2 of the Brandon Hein Story.Please watch part 1 first.Dont forget to come back and see the end.These boys got life without for a crime 1 man admitted to. This is a complete injustice!

The Blade Reed Trust Fund
The Blade Reed Trust Fund is a site set up to help a disabled 15 year old child receive an absolutley necessary neurological exam for autism. He is presently in an adult prison in solitary confinement

Committee advances bill on juveniles sentenced to life

A bill that would allow juveniles convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole to petition for a sentence reduction was advanced Thursday by the Judiciary Committee.
The bill (LB202), by Sen. Brenda Council of Omaha, would permit such youths to petition the state Board of Pardons for a commutation of their sentences after 20 years in prison.
It would create an intense, three-part review process that would result in the possibility of a lesser sentence for an offender who has matured and proved himself or herself to have changed, among other things.
The committee voted 6-0 to advance the measure for debate by the Legislature.
Council said there is significant scientific evidence that the thought processes of minors are significantly different from those of adults.
Life in prison without parole means a denial of hope, Council said.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Latin American Herald Tribune - Hispanic Group Urges Reform of Juvenile Justice System

Latin American Herald Tribune - Hispanic Group Urges Reform of Juvenile Justice System

Young People in St.Patrick's Institution | Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT)

Young People in St.Patrick's Institution | Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT)


When a loved one is sentenced to prison, the emotional turmoil is difficult for everyone to handle. Perhaps the heaviest burden is felt by those who are unintentional victims of crime - children of incarcerated parents.

Nationally, 7.3 million children have at least one parent in jail or prison. Sadly, 70 percent of these kids are doomed to follow in the same footsteps as their parents becoming imprisoned at some point in their lives. In fact, children of incarcerated parents are five times more likely than their peers to commit crimes. However, these at-risk children are largely ignored before they get in trouble.

More troubling for African Americans are the telling statistics. According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, of the 156,235 prisoners in the state of Texas, 57, 857 are Black - the highest of any other ethnicity. Women constitute 12,445 of the total prison population - an increase of 428 from 2007 when 12,0 17 females were behind bars.

So what becomes of these children whose mother and/or fathers are locked up? Often, they are left to fend for themselves emotionally and the stress of child-rearing falls on a grandmother, usually, or another surrogate parent or the children may end up in protective services. These hardships manifest in the children in mental health issues like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and feelings of abandonment, said psychotherapist Dr. Janice Beal. Also, children go through a grieving process. In an effort to curb the cycle of imprisonment and address an overlooked population of at-risk children, more organizations and people are advocating for children with parents in prison.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children

There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children. There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected, that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want and that they grow up in peace.
Kofi A. Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations

The Scott Sisters, Nancy Lockhart and the Politics of Freedom


He is now 14, born 11/14/1996.
He has Bipolar, ADHD, ODD, Anxiety, and learning disabilities. He ended up in the juvenile probation system at age 12, wrongfully from an incident that stemmed right after school. This was May 2009.
I had moved me and my 4 children to a better neighborhood, to have a chance at better education. This was a rich white neighborhood. School was good. Evan had to be bussed over 4 miles, because he required a different school to accommodate his learning needs. He did quite well over all, most of the year. The school was at that time required to make sure the students in that learning support classroom that they got on the bus, esp. when that was not his assigned school, etc.
Evan and his co-defendant/friend from the same learning support classroom, Andre Parker, no relation, did not go on bus and were not escorted like they were supposed to as was put in the Individual Education Plan (IEP), and walked out of the building and were headed to park near by. They were right by next school which was next door, where there was conflict with two other students from their middle school, Linglestown Elementary, and these two students were white.
The two white students were calling them niggers and harrassing them. Evan and Andre stood up for themselves against the racial slurs. One of the white boys was engaging and threatening his friend Andre, and attempted to hit him with his musical instrument. Words were exchanged...typical boy conflict. And since there was words, threats and attempts from the other, it led to Evan and Andre trying to stand up to them, and then Evan end up holding the one boys back pack, and his friend Andre went in boys pocket. Nothing was taken. Yet, in the end, both boys were arrested, and charged with Robbery. My son was charged with "Conspiracy to commit Robbery" a felony. In PA, for juveniles, even if NOTHING was taken, if there was conflict like that, and since my son "held" the back pack... that constitutes "robbery" and is "felony".
The school seemed to conduct a witch hunt and call students in for questioning to give more to detective/police. The statements of the 2 boys that were involved were conflicting! The way it went down and they were arrested was crazy. And the school failed to call me and the other parent, to inform us our children were missing and were not on the bus and were supposed to be escorted on bus. They didn't notify until right before call from police hour to hour and a half later.
The police finally called us and we had to go down to the police station, Lower Paxton Township, and they were fingerprinted, processed. They were trying to ask the boys be detained. Probation had to make that final call and since both boys were so young, probation told them to release them to us on "electronic monitoring". They immediately came to the house to place that on the boys.
We had a court date that wasn't until 2 months later regarding this matter, as it was complicated, and while this was all going on, the school was trying to get their statements and evidences on the boys and try to expel the boys! All of that is another legal issue in and of itself, in which I had an educational lawyer for.
The boys were also not allowed to return back to their school, which was not legal.
In Aug. 2009, after court, my son and his friend were placed on probation, and ordered 6 months of "Consent Decree", which means not on their record. The charges were dropped to "Theft" and "Simple assault" that is the only way you can drop a felony robbery charge, agree to those two. They were also ordered 50 hours of community service, and to complete the Juvenile Offender program.
My son completed his community service hours right away, but the probation officer he was assigned to, was transferring to another state, and failed to place my son in the court ordered "Young offender program" which was required before discharging from probation.
Since that probation failed, and then he had to be assigned a new one, there was no date available in time to complete it in the 6 months time frame, so we had to go to court again, to "extend" another 6 months so he can complete this, even though it was through no fault of his own.
Other factors were a fear and affected my son. With his struggles in school and dealing with a poverty stricken inner city school district, he was not getting the help he needed, and the laws were not being adhered to there, and those can affect violations with probation. I was combatting those at the same time so my son wouldn't be stuck in that system. Fight after fight.
I had had meetings with educational lawyer and we had attempted to move Evan from failure in the one classroom and not getting proper help according to laws. We did all efforts for his rights and well-being, as well as trying to help keep him out or free him as soon as possible from the corrupt juvenile probation system.
He suffers from his mood swings and frustrates from school and other factors. I had to deal and fight the state and county system attempting to get him the right help. I was constantly getting the run around and failures.
My son started getting peer pressure dealing with a few wilder boys and fast girls. He was going to be discharged from probation, but then started violating his 7pm curfew. I had him active with boxing and a positive coach trying to mentor him. I tried to keep him focused and occupied. My son was having trouble with peers at school, and the struggles within.
We attempted to have a Family Group Conference (FGC) that tried to help him have things more set in stone to help him, and at this time, all resources are supposed to be told and provided to the family to help the child.
The plan seemed to work ok, but my son still struggled at this old school, this was prior to the move, and the peers, and his mood swings, self esteem, at times be very angry, frustrated, or depressed, etc. He then was trying to be with the wrong crowd and not care about his self, even though freedom from this juvenile system was right there. He couldn't see it. He gave up. He was told things that he couldnt read and how bad he was, and all types of negative things by teachers and others that were supposed to be people who he trusted, and he started to believe and say "I don't care. They gonna set me up at school. They know I'm on probation. It doesnt matter. They don't care. They say stuff all the time..." He was upset all the time, coming home like that. He would be very moody and give up. Then he would take off from curfew. He was even set up at the old school, where the principal tried to enforce something that he didn't do, but a peer he associated himself with, and tried to get parents to get Evan charges for "harrassment" since he was probation. We had a lawyer who cared, and this was dismissed, it was bogus. These are examples of the corruption and failures in the school, that cooperate with the corruption of the children in the juvenile system. They work hand in hand and untruths are told and powers are abused here to see the children stuck in the system.
My son had to go to the detention center, had a hearing and was released. NO help was offered. I asked for help. None was given, just released. Issues were not being addressed, the programs and help that are available or were available to me were not offered or given. So, it was like giving me and my son no tools and setting us up for failure.
He then got in trouble again, arrested for just violating his curfew. And then was released, with no programs, no help, especially the therapy that has been an issue and need.
He had been arrested for these stupid reasons four times. He was then left detained 2 wks and we went to court in front of the Judge Sept. 16, 2010, and the Judge looked over the issues and said things were simple, and he did good, and was due to be off, and then started messing up with curfew and all. Also tried smoking weed while out violating curfew with the peers he followed. This Judge, as strict as he is, realized my son's age, and failures and was the first one to attempt to give him more "treatment" and "programs". He was released, despite what probation wanted and recommended. They were recommended remand and placement to juvenile detention center.
Judge Cherry released my son home to me, as I fight for him, and we had failures, and ordered him programs and placed him on "suspended committment", which is like a parole for juveniles here. He was ordered to have a psychiatric eval/which no one wanted to do, pay for, insurance battles, so he placed it in the court order to attempt to get it done easier. He ordered him to the Pro-A drug recovery support group, which my son proactively connected to and asked for while he was detained the 2 wks. He ordered working with the mentors at the Boys and Girls Club. He ordered NRT/Abraxas program, which is a great program to help learn new skills and thinking about his choices, etc. He also ordered MST, which was multi-systemic therapy. Well, everyone was under the impression that MST was intense indivual therapy which is what he needed, and it wasn't. It was a duplication of services, to redirect, change peers, occupy, etc. So after his release, everyone met, and probation did allow immediate early discharge from that program. He also was ordered GPS monitoring and drug testing.
My son did ALL of these requirements with no violations until December before the holiday. NO violations. He did great. No drugs, nothing. But, my son also got very sick end of November, and was bed ridden, etc. He kept staying sick, vomiting and end up missing nearly the whole month. He lost 10 pounds in 2 wks and even the medical doctor stated that the mental health was also a contributing factor.
The issue with the mental health, was that his father is a retired Navy officer, and his Navy miltiary insurance, Tricare Prime is primary, and my state's medicaid secondary. There was insurance battles. The sad part, the MST service is two tier's higher than individual/etc. They were paying for that, but refused to pay for this one on one therapy that my son needed. Yet, in my area, there are no providers that will accept that military insurance, nor will anyone bill, etc. So it should have been automatic to accept and pay for it via our state medicaid. My son nearly did 3 1/2 months violation free, and close to discharge without the necessary mental health he needed.
When he got really sick, he was not able to attend required groups, but was excused medically from the doctor, and was bed ridden, vomitting, etc. He lost his structure and routine he had all the months prior.
His step brother lives in the housing projects not too far from my house, and before Christmas vacation, the probation officer told my son he was now no longer to be out there. My son freaked out and said, "that's my can't keep me from my brother..." He was upset, and hurt. He was due to discharge off the main program Jan. 16th, with possible 2 wk delay due to illness, and then could be discharged from probation immediately after.
My son took that to heart about not being to be out there, when she knew that they were close, etc. He was emotional, etc. It was Christmas vacation and he was due to be checked for clearance to return back to school with a clean bill of health Jan. 3, and on vacation he was moody, enraged, sad, etc. He snuck out and went to see his brother and violated and would say "I don't care. She can't keep me from my brother!" He then gave up and didn't see the whole picture and the finish line again. He quit and was down and said, "they can take me".
We went to doctor for clearance on Jan. 3rd, 2011, and he got cleared to return and the medical doctor stressed that he needs the mental health helping him and I explained the insurance battle. He said that has been part of the problem. He returned to school on Jan. 4th and tried to have a positive attitude, wanting to get back on track with routine, groups, etc. He did ok, but would be very moody, struggling from stress from school, learning issues, etc. He attended his groups. That same work there was funeral from a person who was like family who was shot and killed at age of 22 that we were close to. We attended the funeral, and Evan still attended the required group that afternoon. He had curfew, did okay but was very sad and moody. Apparently he smoked and was tested positive, first relapse in all that time. After that, his mood was up and down and more depressed. The following week he was depressed and not wanting to go to school. PO came by that Wed and told him he needs to be in school tomorrow or he would be arrested, that is violation. My son was emotional, down and stayed in bed, and around 10am that Thurs, Jan. 12, 2011 my son was arrested for not going to school.
He was detained and we had detention hearing Fri., Jan. 13, 2011. He was released with a change in school, since that was affecting him and that Master stated with his young age, and mental not being addressed, and he needed that. He ordered the school that is structured, and is same people who worked with him for Abraxas. School is 8 to 2p, and wears uniforms and what not. He also ordered the "Uplift" program to help him.
My son did good 9 days and really liked the small structured school away from the peer pressure,etc. Unfortunately he was still fresh returning to getting on track with his medications, after being sick so long, and his trouble with peer refusal skills and he attempted to say no to a peer that he couldn't go anywhere and snuck out his window to follow this peer. And that peer and he went to the "south side" where he was not allowed to go, and it ended up in a new charge, "conspiracy to commit robbery" a felony. He was arrested Jan. 26, 2011, and detained, and statement had to be given at police station.
The other boy knew an older boy who had developmental issues and worked for cab company parking cars, and this older boy gave the friend of my son Evan the keys as he was intimidated by him, and the boy then ran and then my son and the boy he was with ran...and they were arrested.
My son was not part of it, and the other boy stated as such, but he was there, on scene, 30 to 40 feet away.
They were detained, hearing was held Fri., Jan. 28th, and he was kept detained. Due to his overall good behavior and non danger/risk factor, he was "shelter" eligible, and allowed to be kept close to him in this less restrictive setting, but PO lied and she even called me and stated such, but said something different at the hearing. The Master remanded him to "detention" and he was sent an hour and a half away.
This facility is very strict, similar to adult state system. His court date was Feb. 7th. At this court date, because of "felony" and how rules are, charges were dropped to "theft" in m1 due to it being keys to car, and "simple assault", and he was ordered to placement and taken the next day, Feb. 8th, and the placement is 4 1/2 hours away.
I was not allowed to say goodbye.
I spoke to my son and the treatment coordinator for the facility and she stated on my son's records it states "conduct disorder" and "disruptive behavior" disorder, and she stated it makes a huge difference in what his actual diagnoses are. That makes a difference in how a judge views a child and programs available, etc. Also, with my son's current diagnoses, he can be in less restrictive, and it be billed majority under state mental health, for Residential Treatment Facility (RTF). I have to fax the true diagnoses, since that will also impact his success and ultimately his ability to be discharged, return home and be free from the system. I also have her email and have to email 25 page private school psychological report, from when he first was wronged and placed in the system at the other school district, in which we battled and also received a $5000 settlement and we left and moved the district back to the city. The school district was ordered to pay for this private school psychologist.
Anyhow... so much to tell, so much wrong, and so many systems contributing. He is set in a 9 to 12 month program and if we didn't have the lawyer help him, who got him a court ordered 6 month review in front of the judge, he would be there minimum 9 months before review. All factors have to be successful and his correct diagnoses do contribute to his ability to be successful and ultimately be discharged and free from the system.
His biological father never wanted him, wasn't in the life. Abandoned issues, and people who try to be in his life, they abandon him, he has a lot of trust issues in this regards.

Elizabeth Sessions -
Mother and Advocate of
Evan parker