Children and the Law Posts
Closing a Wisconsin teen prison is a decision that’s being applauded by some who say closing Lincoln Hills may help teens. But others warn it’s just the first stop to fixing a broken path in the criminal justice system.
The law regulating children, and their relationships with family and the state, has grown complex. We now grapple with creating a cohesive understanding of the law that balances children’s rights against parental authority and the state’s commitment to support child wellbeing. That is the purpose of this project.
This piece examines the role that concerns about finality have played in both capital cases and juvenile life-without-parole sentencing cases.
A state law that went into effect this year makes juveniles given life sentences eligible for parole after serving 25 years and meeting certain educational requirements. In extreme cases however, district attorneys can block access parole during a new sentencing hearing if the juvenile lifer is considered the “worst of the worst” and unable to be rehabilitated.
The Northwestern District Attorney is working to reform juvenile court in Massachusetts by lobbying the State House to include 18-year-olds in its system.
In the case, S.S. v Colorado River Indian Tribes, the U.S. Supreme Court recently denied a petition for certiorari filed by the Goldwater Institute.
The petition alleges the Indian Child Welfare Act, a federal law that established standards for the placement of Native American children in foster and adoptive homes, is unconstitutional.
Several other states have introduced reforms aimed at correcting longstanding overreliance on punitive, criminal sanctions for young people. Recently, New York and North Carolina used their budget processes to expand the age bounds of their juvenile justice systems to ensure that 16- and 17-year-old youth can no longer be automatically placed in adult courtrooms.
As with the dawning of fields such as juvenile justice, domestic violence, and elder law, early childhood development and the law will be a focal point for research within the legal academy, a vital bridge to scholars in other disciplines, and an important means for bringing lawyers and legal scholars to the heart of emerging policy debates.
At its meeting in New York City on October 19 and 20, The American Law Institute’s Council reviewed drafts for eight projects, with the following outcomes:
Project Reporters Emily Buss, Solangel Maldonado, and Clare Huntington discuss issues of pluralism in the Children and the Law Restatement.