mission is to reduce the number of injuries and deaths due to
established on the belief that the state must assume the role of responsible
parent when the natural parents cannot, the reality has been quite
different. Children are routinely subject to inhumane conditions in large
impersonal custodial institutions.
The 31,000 member California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) is the second-largest state employees union in California, and arguably the most influential lobby group in the state...the union spends $7 million each year supporting political causes.--A Closer Look: Prison Union's Influence on Budget in Question...The Daily Bruin, Richard Clough, 5/12/04
CCPOA has been able to get 'huge contracts' in a state budget with a
'limited amount of resources,' which can detract from the funds allocated to
other groups....that's a detriment to public education.
May 21, 2004
While United States citizens in Iraq are committing atrocities on
incarcerated Iraqi civilians, at home here in the United States, we have our own
The United States is unlike most other countries with the death penalty which have abolished it for juvenile offenders. More than 72 countries with the death penalty do not execute juveniles. There are only 6 countries known to have executed juvenile offenders in the 1990s. Those countries are: the United States, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Nigeria. According to the United Nations (1998), the US policy on executing juvenile offenders violates international laws and treaties signed or ratified by the United States (Juvenile Crime, Adult Adjudication, and the Death Penalty: Draconian Policies Revisited). Clearly, most of the world agrees that putting young people on death row is wrong. At one time, so did the United States.
In addition to the execution of juveniles, some of the other U.S. youth incarceration issues include concerns over abuse and overcrowding in California's Youth Authority as well as the increasing practice of allowing more juveniles to be tried in adult criminal courts. From 1992 through 1997, forty-four states and the District of Columbia passed laws making it easier for juveniles to be tried as adults (OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book).
Incarceration and Race
Because of a zero tolerance policy which ends up resulting in more and more young people being arrested and detained for minor offenses, abuses have occurred. In an article from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice's (CJCJ) Justice Policy Journal (Spring 2003) entitled, Juvenile Crime, Adult Adjudication, and the Death Penalty: Draconian Policies Revisited, the authors note that Amnesty International has reported that a 13-year old girl in Tuscaloosa, AL was detained for 5 weeks in a juvenile jail for possession of what was believed to be marijuana but turned out to be oregano. And, there are other horror stories as well. Once these young people enter the incarceration system, they experience abuse and an environment that, rather than deter future criminality, breeds it. Furthermore, incarceration does not prevent crime. The Justice Policy Institute found that those California counties that used Three Strikes least frequently actually had a decline in violent crime that was 22.5 percent greater than counties using Three Strikes the most frequently (Justice Policy Institute (JPI) . Still Striking Out: Ten Years of California's Three Strikes).
People as Victims and Perpetrators of Crime
Analyses of the FBI National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) data for recent years indicate that juveniles commit crimes at different times than adults do.
Clearly, if young people had places to go, programs to be involved in, and adults to supervise them, they would be safer from becoming either victims or perpetrators.
Young People and Our Future
References & Resources
The Jail Generation Alternet.org