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Saturday, April 1, 2017

When A Child Is With Miore

California's Youth Needs You

Prop 57 EmergencyRegulationsare here.
This week CDCR released proposed regulations for Proposition 57. Learn about them and voice your opinion about what is good and what should be changed! We have until Monday, April 3rd to submit a letter in this first round of public comments.These are "emergency regulations,"
which means they will go into effect quickly and will be in use while the permanent regulations go through the formal vetting process. We get the first chance to voice our opinions on these regulations right now, with a deadline of Monday, April 3rd. Later, when the permanent
regulations are being considered, we'll get another chance to send in letters and go to public hearings. Watch this short slideshow on what the regulations are and how you can be involved!

Learn about what is in the emergency regulations and how you can participate in the public comment period. Read about the process here and read the actual Prop 57 Regs here. Finally, you can use this Prop 57 Regulations Sample Letter with Instructions 3-24-17 to weigh in!The
emergency regulations can stay in effect for 180 days. We can expect that prior to the end of that period the permanent regulation rule-making process will occur, and during that time there will be a minimum 45-day period for written public comments. There will also be public hearings. As
people who care about this issue, we should weigh in at every chance. Stay tuned to learn about other deadlines, public hearings, and more.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ACTION!! Letter-writing workshop at USC School of Law last week. Taught by law students and formerly incrcerated people, we split up into small groups and drafted letters on the Prop 57 regulations together.

GET THE GUIDE.Youth OffenderParole Guideon SB 260 and SB 261 For families and people on the inside. Click here to get yours. go through the formal vetting process, including More »

TAKE ACTION NOW: Speak Up on Prop 57 Regs! And, Support Two Bills on the Rights of

Children and Youth!

There are three important ways to take action right now: 1. Support SB 394, ending life without parole for youth under age 18; 2. Support SB 395, protecting Miranda rights for youth; and 3.

Give your opinion on Prop More »

Go Here To View Sample Letter>

Read this one-page descriptoin SB 395 here! SB 395- Miranda Factsheet. Read the bill text here.

Then, take action!! Send a letter! Here are to easy-to-use options:

Sample letter with instructions OR

Several short letters– pick one to just print, sign, and send!

Under current law, police are allowed to:
•Remove a child from school without a parent’s permission
•Interrogate a child for hours without a parent’s knowledge
•Lie to the child about what evidence exists against him or her
•Threaten long prison sentences
•Not contact a parent during interrogation, even when a child is asking to speak with their mother or father.

The end result is that children and youth are alone in a very high-pressure situation, and are often frightened.

SB 395 is a bill that if passed would have made sure a person under the age of 18 gets to talk to an attorney before giving up his or her constitutional rights.

Want to know more?
•More facts
•Why American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychologists believes attorneys should be present with children who are with police
•How the rate of false confessions is high for youth
•How much false confessions cost California

Fact Sheet >


Miranda Rights for Youth
Senate Bill 395
SB 395 will require youth under the age of 18 to
consult with legal counsel before they waive their
constitutional rights.

Currently in California, children—no matter howyoung— can waive their Miranda rights. When

lawenforcement conducts a custodial interrogation, they are required to recite basic constitutional rights to theindividual, known as Miranda rights, and secure awaiver of those rights before
proceeding. The waivermust be voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently made.
Miranda waivers by juveniles present distinct issues.
Recent advances in cognitive science research haveshown that the capacity of youth to grasp legal rights is less than that of an adult. This is especially true for very young, developmentally disabled, or cognitivelydelayed children, and for those with mental health
Although existing law assures counsel for youth accused of crimes, the law does not require law enforcement to recognize that youth are different from adults. It is critical to ensure a youth understands their rights before waiving them.
Recently an appellate court held that a 10-year-old boy made a voluntary, knowing, and intelligent waiver of his Miranda rights. When the police asked if he understood the right to remain silent, he replied, “Yes, that means that I have the right to stay calm.” The California Supreme Court declined to review the lower court’s decision. Several justices disagreed, and in his dissenting statement Justice Liu noted that many states have taken legislative action on this issue and
suggests that California should as well, stating that state law on juvenile waivers is a half-century old and,“predates by several decades the growing body ofscientific research that the [U.S. Supreme Court] has repeatedly found relevant in assessing differences in mental capabilities between children and adults.”
Studies have demonstrated youth often do not fully comprehend the consequences of waiving their rights.
They are also much more likely than adults to waive their rights and to confess to crimes they did not commit. A recent study of exonerations found that 13 percent of adults had falsely confessed, compared to 42 percent of juveniles. The ramifications for both the
individual and society of false confessions are farreaching.
Our society recognizes that children are especially vulnerable in legal situations, which is why youth cannot buy alcohol and cigarettes or enter into legal contracts, yet our state’s laws do not recognize their diminished capacity to understand their Miranda rights. Other states have acknowledged the difference between youth and adults and passed laws providing safeguards for youth. Unfortunately, for juveniles in California, our justice system
only provides Miranda rights in theory. In practice the system is flawed and can and does result in serious disproportionate negative consequences for youth who have the same rights as adults, but do not have the same capacity to understand their rights or the consequences of waiving them.
SB 395 will require youth under 18 to consult with counsel prior to waving their rights. This will preserv youth’s constitutional rights and protect the integrity of our criminal justice system. This bill will bring California’s law in line with modern science. By
ensuring youth understand their rights, we ensure the outcome of interrogations are just and
lawful, and create greater trust, accountability, and due process for all.
Megan Baier 916-651-4033

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

11 Years Old & Sentenced To 25

Lacresha Murray – Another Child Locked Away
Posted on January 6, 2004 by CCWP

by Diana Block
Lacresha Murray is a Black thirteen-year-old child who was convicted of negligent homicide and injury to a child. She was eleven years old when she was sentenced to 25 years! There was no physical evidence, no reasonable explanation of opportunity or motive, no witnesses and no history of violence, yet this young girl is now spending her days in a juvenile prison in Giddings, Texas.
The case is based on a so-called confession from Lacresha, which was obtained by Austin, Texas, police during a lengthy, illicit interrogation. Months before her
trial, against juvenile law and State Bar rules, Austin D.A. Ronnie Earle announced Lacresha’s identity and pronounced her guilty in a televised news conference. The media, without any investigation, headlined her as guilty as charged for two solid months, eliminating any possibility of a fair trial. By framing and imprisoning Lacresha, Earle got national attention and right-before-election proof that he was tough on crime.
Lacresha’s case highlights the growing trend of the criminal injustice system to lock children up at ever younger ages for increasing amounts of time. This trend impacts most heavily on communities of color, which are being ripped apart by this devastating combination of police, court and prison attacks. For more information about Lacresha’s case, contact People of the Heart, P.O. Box 2585, Cedar Park, TX 78630-2585, 512-707-3743, Send donations to People of the Heart, Acct. 1888322466, Bank One Texas, Bank by Mail, Station H, 1901 Parkwood, Bedford, TX 76021.
This entry was posted in Issue 09 - September 1998 by CCWP. Bookmark the permalink.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Aanother Child Dies

Washington: Teen’s Death in Tribal Jail Sparks Lawsuit, Contract Scrutiny
Loaded on Feb. 8, 2017 published in Prison Legal News February, 2017, page 39 Filed under: Guard Misconduct, Jail Misconduct, Cardiovascular,

Failure to Treat, Jail Specific, Medical Neglect/Malpractice, Juveniles, Failure to Protect (Juveniles), Guards/Staff. Location:

On January 9, 2017, Seattle attorneys Edwin Budge and Erik

Heipt said they plan to file a federal lawsuit on behalf of the family of a teenager who died after warning jailers he had a heart condition and had previously required resuscitation. Although 19 year-old Andrew Westling wasn’t a tribal member, when he was
arrested on April 10, 2016, police in the city of Yelm took him to the Nisqually Corrections Center – a tribal jail in nearby
Thurston County. There, after telling a guard he felt like his heart was “thumping out of his skin,” he was found dead roughly 24 hours after being booked into the facility.

A Thurston County coroner listed the cause of Westling’s death as
cardiac dysrhythmia due to congenital coronary artery heart
anomalies,” and described the manner of death as natural.

However, according to a medical specialist retained by attorneys
representing Westling’s family, his heart condition was “familiar,
readily recognized, and easily treatable.” University of
Washington medical professor Richard Cummins added, “If it
were not for the unreasonable neglect of the staff of the Nisqually
Corrections Center, Andrew Westling would be alive today and
would very likely enjoy a normal life span.”

The ...


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Debtors’ Prison For Kids
Debtors’ Prison For Kids: Poor Children Incarcerated When Families Can’t Pay Juvenile Court Fees

First-of-its-kind report finds children are being imprisoned nationwide when families can’t pay fines levied by juvenile justice system.
“The debt in effect creates a rift between parents and their children,” one survey respondent said, and went on to describe a grandmother who was told to consider giving up custody of her grandson in order to avoid paying his juvenile court fees. Many states are incarcerating poor children whose families can’t afford to pay juvenile court fees and fines, a report published Wednesday finds, which amounts to punishing children for their families’ poverty—and that may be unconstitutional.
Although the growing practice of incarcerating adults who are unable to pay municipal and court fees and fines has been documented for several years, as Common Dreams has noted, the latest report from the Juvenile Law Center is the first in-depth examination of the practice within the juvenile justice system.
The report, “Debtor’s Prison for Kids? The High Cost of Fines and Fees in the Juvenile Justice System” (pdf), documents the results of a survey of 183 people involved in the juvenile justice system—including lawyers, family members, and adults who had been incarcerated as children in the juvenile justice system—in 41 states.
The report authors discovered that in most states there is a pile-up of fees and fines imposed on children and their families once a child enters the juvenile justice system, and that “many statutes establish that youth can be incarcerated or otherwise face a loss of liberty when they fail to pay.”
A grandmother had taken custody of her grandson but when facing these insurmountable fees, she was told (by a county employee) that the only way she could avoid paying was to hand over custody [to the state].”—Juvenile Law Center survey respondent

There are myriad ways in which juvenile court systems levy fines on children’s families, the report authors found, and then imprison those children when their families are too poor to pay the mounting costs:
Many states impose a monthly fee on families whose children are sentenced to probation. When a family can’t pay the monthly fee, that counts as a probation violation, and the child is in most cases incarcerated in a juvenile detention facility.
If children are sentenced to a “diversion program,” or a community-based program meant to keep them out of detention and help them reintegrate into their communities, the families must pay the costs of such a program. When poor children are unable to pay, they are simply incarcerated instead.
Families in most states must pay for their children’s court-ordered evaluations and tests (such as mental health evaluations, STD tests, and drug and alcohol assessments). Failure to obtain certain evaluations may result in a failure to be granted bond by the court, which means the child would remain in juvenile detention. Or if the tests are performed and the family subsequently can’t pay for them, that counts as a probation violation and the child is re-sentenced, which can mean being incarcerated.
Some sentences involve a simple fine, such as truancy, and failure to pay results in the child’s imprisonment. “Even when fines are not mandated by statute, they may be treated as mandatory in practice,” the report authors note, describing one impoverished child’s experience with a $500 truancy fine in Arkansas: One individual who had been in the juvenile justice system there reported that he spent three months in a locked facility at age 13 because he couldn’t afford the truancy fine. He appeared in court without a lawyer or a parent and was never asked about his capacity to pay or given the option of paying a reduced amount. He assumed he had to either pay the full fine or spend time in jail. He explained, “my mind was set to where I was just like forget it, I might as well just go ahead and do the time because I ain’t got no money and I know the [financial] situation my mom is in. I ain’t got no money so I might as well just go and sit it out.”
“Almost all states charge parents for the care and support of youth involved with the juvenile justice system,” the report adds. Those include fees for room and board, clothing, and mental and physical healthcare, among many other charges, and “[i]nability to pay […] can result in youth being deprived of treatment, held in violation of probation, or even facing extended periods of incarceration.” (Juvenile prisons also charge their own, often higher, prices for children’s prescription medications, the report says, which frequently results in high charges that poor families cannot afford to pay and interrupts necessary healthcare for their children.)
In all 50 states, a statute exists which deems that if a child and their family can’t afford restitution charges—that is, payment to the victim(s) of the child’s crime, which is a popular sentence in juvenile court—the child is incarcerated.
Juvenile detention facilities are often unsafe and inhumane, as Common Dreams has reported.

And the fines imposed by juvenile court are “highly burdensome,” according to the report.
The average cost of juvenile system involvement is $2,000 per case in Alameda County, California,
for example, and “for young people incarcerated for extended periods of time, the costs can be
significantly higher.”

“When parents face incarceration or mounting debt for failure to pay, they have even fewer resources to devote to educating, helping, and supporting their children.”
—Juvenile Law Center
The report authors also observe that incarcerating children for their families’ inability to pay fees may be unconstitutional:



“Moreover,” the report continues, “while further research is needed, existing studies suggest that court costs, fees, and fines have limited, if any, fiscal benefit to states and counties, given the difficulty in collecting from families in poverty and the high administrative costs in trying to do so.”
The Juvenile Law Center details the varying policies on juvenile court system fees state-by-state on a new website, and also highlights the few counties and states who are attempting to rectify the problem.
“Ultimately, state and local policymakers should establish more sustainable and effective models for funding court systems rather than imposing costs on youth and families who simply can’t afford to pay,” the Juvenile Law Center says.

180 Days For Stolen Cellphone

Abuse, Civil Rights, Criminal Justice System, Human Rights, Justice, Juveniles, law, Life In America, Mass Incarceration
A stolen cellphone, then an odyssey through Maryland’s juvenile justice system

Continue reading A stolen cellphone, then an odyssey through Maryland’s juvenile justice system
13 year old’s 1st offense was stealing a cellphone. Did he have to spend 891 days in juvenile system?
By Erica L. Green

Before Michael ever saw the inside of juvenile lockup, caseworkers recommended he be sent home.
The 13-year-old came from a stable, two-parent home in Columbia. He watched over his three younger siblings, did chores around the house, and enjoyed playing in his youth football league.
Then, he says, he fell in with the wrong group of kids. He was with one of the boys, he says, when they stole another teen’s cellphone.
It was Michael’s first offense. Juvenile caseworkers thought a letter of apology and counseling made the most sense. His attorney argued that a return home would be the best outcome for everyone.