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State legislation

"Local governments across the U.S. are striving to improve public safety and optimize criminal justice investments … This policy brief considers the importance of collaboration with local justice partners in the formulation and implementation of state­ level justice reinvestment solutions. It highlights the need to share data to identify and implement cost­ saving solutions, partner to promote successful policy implementation, and invest locally." Sections cover: sharing data to identify and implement cost-saving solutions; Spotlight—Ohio; partnering with local stakeholders to promote successful policy implementation—sentencing, Spotlight—resource incentives for local placement in Pennsylvania, release mechanisms, community supervision, and California's public safety realignment and voter-led initiatives to reduce incarceration; investing locally; "thinking state" (partnering at the state level) in crafting local justice reinvestment solutions; and conclusion.

The Justice Reinvestment Initiative Cover

"Today, juvenile justice reform has become a largely bipartisan issue as lawmakers work together to develop new policies to align sound fiscal responsibility, community safety and better outcomes for youth. New legislative reforms reflect an interest in developmentally appropriate approaches to more evidence-based methods and cost-effective alternatives to incar­ceration. There also now exists an abundance of research that is available to lawmakers and the field on adolescent development—that includes the latest neuro[logical], social and behavioral science that distinguishes juveniles from adult offenders. Recent trends in juvenile justice legislation across the country represent a significant new direction to broadly reform justice systems." "Juvenile justice policies require balancing the interests of public safety, accountability and rehabilitation. The challenge for state lawmakers is to develop policies that seek to disrupt the pathways that youth follow into the justice system. In the past five years, juvenile justice reform legislation in the United States has grown at a remarkable pace. The reforms reflect an interest in developmentally appropriate approaches to more evidence-based and cost-effective alternatives to incarceration" (p. 1). Sections following an executive summary include: federal standards; comprehensive omnibus reforms; human trafficking; returning jurisdiction to the juvenile justice system—reforming transfer, waiver and direct file laws, and raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction; prevention, intervention, and detention reform—intervention and realignment, status offenders, and detention reform; due process and defense reform—juvenile competency, indigent defense and other procedural issues, shackling, and solitary confinement; treating mental health needs of juvenile offenders; racial and ethnic disparities; restorative justice; reentry/aftercare—confidentiality of juvenile records and expungement; and conclusion.

› Trends in Juvenile Justice State Legislation 2011-2015 cover

"State laws provide a framework for judges and other local officials to determine who is eligible for [pretrial] release and under what conditions. In recent years, state legislation has concentrated largely on individualizing the pretrial process by focusing on specific defendants or offense categories. From 2012 to 2014, 261 new laws in 47 states addressed pretrial policy" (p. 1). This document provides an overview of these legislative enactments. Sections cover pretrial legislation by: risk assessments; victim-specific procedures; victim-specific conditions; pretrial services; and diversion. A chart shows types of release conditions enacted, with states listed in columns according to financial, substance related, electronic monitoring, victim protection, and other conditions. There is also a circle chart showing the types of diversion programs addressed by states—drug, mental health, veteran, non-population specific, human trafficking, and property crimes.

Trends in Pretrial Cover

“This report examines several states’ ‘‘safety valve’’ statutes — legislation that allows judges to bypass a mandatory sentence under certain circumstances … a safety valve for cases where the mandatory minimum sentence would be unjust … [It] should serve as a guide to lawmakers and policy advisors across the country who are seeking to reduce their states’ inmate populations and save precious resources currently spent on incarceration” (p. 349). Sections of this report discuss: the rising costs and shrinking benefits of mass incarceration; states take the lead in rethinking sentencing policies; sentencing reform being the smartest reform; how a safety valve works; state safety valves; the benefits of a safety valve—protect public safety, give courts flexibility to punish enough but not too much, and save taxpayers money; and a model state sentencing safety valve. Appendixes provide: legislative language that defines sentencing safety valves in Florida, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New York, Oregon, and Virginia; and the legislative language for the federal safety value statute.

Turning off the Spigot: How Sentencing Safety Valves can Help States Protect Public Safety and Save Money Cover

"Children in far too many states are forced to appear in court shackled – often wearing handcuffs, leg irons, and belly chains connecting ankle and hand restraints … In this [excellent] webinar, co-sponsored by the Coalition for Juvenile Justice, presenters David Shapiro of the Campaign Against Indiscriminate Juvenile Shackling and George Yeannakis of the Washington State Office of Public Defense and NJJN member TeamChild, discussed the practical, policy, and constitutional reasons to reform universal shackling practices and successful strategies for reforming shackling policies." You can get the following resources at this website: policy update "Unchain the Children: Policy Opportunities to End the Shackling of Youth in Court"; a recording of the entire webinar; PowerPoint presentation; and "GR 9 COVER SHEET Suggested Amendment JUVENILE COURT RULES JuCR 1.6 – Physical Restraints in the Courtroom".

Unchain the Children: Policy Opportunities to Stop Shackling Children in Court [Webinar] Cover


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