Thursday, 30 January 2014

OJJDP Looks at Mentoring Needs of Kids with Parents in Lock-U

© Aloysius Patrimonio / Thinkstock

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has released a new report unveiling recommendations for mentoring programs serving children with parents in jail or prison.
Mentoring Children of Incarcerated Parents” summarizes a Sept. 2013 “listening session” hosted by the WhiteHouse Office of Public Engagement and Domestic Policy Council. More than 40 people, including mentoring organization representatives and those designated as Champions of Change for Children of Incarcerated Parents by the White House last summer, contributed to the day-long session.
Over the last 20 years, the number of children in the nation with an incarcerated parent has steadily risen, the authors of the report say. They estimate 1.7 million kids currently have at least one parent serving a prison sentence, and “millions more” have a mother or father in jail. African-American youths are at substantially greater risk, the report states; black youths are three times more likely than Hispanic youths to have an incarcerated parent, and nearly seven times likelier to have an incarcerated parent than white youths.
Prior research suggests young people with incarcerated parents are more likely to have worse mental and physical health outcomes than their peers, as well as perform worse in school. The children of incarcerated parents, the report indicates, are also at greater risk of engaging in delinquent and antisocial behavior.
The “listening session” produced three specific policy recommendations for youths with imprisoned parents: the development of “strategic supports” to enhance mentoring programs, the cultivation of a “community of practice” for mentoring children with incarcerated parents and greater investments in research to pinpoint evidence-based models for mentoring children with moms and dads behind bars.
The findings, the authors state, show mentoring is a valuable resource for young people with incarcerated parents -- although working with the population does pose specific counseling challenges.
“Children of incarcerated parents are as likely as other youth to have the kinds of positive experiences in their relationships with mentors that contribute to positive outcomes,” the report says. “At the same time, attention to special considerations that may arise in mentoring children of incarcerated parents is warranted.”
The authors urge monitoring and support systems to include personalized staff check-ins not only with mentors, but the mentee’s family as well.
The authors of the study, however, note that evidence-based research regarding best practices for the population is limited. Substantial investments, the report states, are necessary to fill in current knowledge gaps, beginning with a firmer “foundational understanding and documentation” of the overall effectiveness of mentoring as an intervention for the population.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Juvenile Detention

 The Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juvenile offenders, ages 17 and under, are unconstitutional, however the ruling does not automatically free any of the over 2200 prisoners serving life sentences for crimes committed as juveniles nor does it forbid such life terms for youths convicted of homicide. Rather, sentencing judges must first take into account the offender's age, the nature of the crime and other mitigating factors.
On this edition of Inside Out we ask: What goes into deciding a youth deserves a life sentence? What programs are available to youth behind bars? And what are the alternatives to lock up?

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Young Inmate Handed Six Life Sentences For Crime Committed At Age 15 Appeals Sentence

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In 2006, 15-year-old Travion Blount was given the longest prison sentence ever given to a teenager for a crime other than murder. He was sentenced to an incredible six life sentences plus an additional 118 years (you know, just in case he outlived the first six lifers) in prison for his role in a 2006 house theft.
In the theft, 15-year-old Blount and two 18 year old accomplices stole cell phones, cash, and marijuana from a local house party. The boys were quickly detained by police and charged with their crimes.
The 18 year olds accepted plea deals that landed them only 10 and 13 years in jail. Blount rejected his plea deal at the time, and as a result the judge handed him an infinitely more harsh sentence.
Blount has been serving time in Wallens Ridge State Prison since 2007. Now, almost seven years later, Blount and his attorney are appealing his sentence. They are arguing that his punishment is far more severe than the crime, especially given that the other two teens who committed the crime with him are serving only a fraction of the time Blount is. The appeal is being sent to Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell in hopes that he will pardon Blount before leaving office.
“There is no arguing that the crime committed was trivial,” the appeal reads. “What is arguable is the fact that, out of the three individuals who committed the crime, only one person will die in prison.”
The letter adds that the young Blount was “naive and unduly influenced by the boys.”
Virginia governors are allowed to grant conditional pardons to prisoners. As part of Blount’s conditional pardon appeal, he agrees to meet any conditions Gov. McDonnell sees fit. Prior to being incarcerated for theft, Blount was convicted of unauthorized use of a vehicle, robbery, attempted robbery, and malicious wounding.
When asked for a comment on Blount’s appeal, Gov. McDonnell’s office only said the request is “working its way through the normal process."
Sources: Hampton Roads, Daily Mail

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Davonte Sanford It's 2014 let's make calls send emails sign his petition Let's help bring him HOME

We call on people all over  who love Truth, Justice and equality To stand with Davonte Sanford It's 2014 let's make calls send emails sign his petition
Let's help bring him HOME

 make phone calls to the Governor of Michigan  
PHONE: (517) 373-3400
PHONE: (517) 335-7858 - Constituent Services
FAX:(517) 335-6863
Executive Office Staff List 
Governor Rick Snyder
P.O. Box 30013
Lansing, Michigan 48909
Northern Michigan Office
234 West Baraga Avenue
Marquette, MI 49855
(906) 228-2850 Washington D.C. Office
444 N. Capitol Street, Northwest
Hall of the States, Suite 411
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 624-5840
Other Requests
Flag Honors
Flag Request FormGov. Rick Snyder announces the appointment of Jackson County Sheriff Daniel Heyns to the post of corrections director in Lansing.
Daniel Heyns, Director
Michigan Department of Corrections
206 E. Michigan Ave.
Grandview Plaza
PO Box 30003
Lansing, MI 48909

Kym Worthy, Wayne County Prosecutor: Use Your Prosecutorial Discretion to Free Innocent Davontae Sanford