Some of the Top National Criminal Justice Stories of 2017
Date:  12-31-2017

Although there have been some setbacks on a federal level, several states have implemented meaningful reform
From California Bar Association

The following list was compiled by John Legend & Carimah Townes, a criminal-justice reporter for the Fair Punishment Project. Earlier this year, John Legend lent his support to the Meet Your DA event series, which California Bar Foundation co-hosted with the ACLU of Northern California, ACS, and Smart Justice California. The criminal-justice system took a hard beating this year —especially at the federal level. The Department of Justice’s head honcho, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, directed all federal prosecutors (pdf) to seek the harshest charges possible in every criminal case, scaled back police department investigations, bolstered civil asset forfeiture, put military-grade weapons back in the hands of local police and expanded the federal government’s role in immigration enforcement.

1) New York and North Carolina “raised the age.” This year, New York and North Carolina passed legislation to “raise the age” and will no longer automatically prosecute 16- and 17-year-olds as adults. Instead, these teenagers can legally be processed in the juvenile-justice system, which is better equipped to assess and tackle young people’s unique needs, and aims to be rehabilitative, not punitive.

2) The Senate passed critical juvenile-justice legislation. Way back in 1974, the federal government passed the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, agreeing that there should be a basic set of guidelines for approaching incarcerated youths.

In August, the Senate finally voted in favor of a bill to reauthorize the legislation, after passage of a sister bill in the House last year. Now that both houses of Congress have advanced legislation, they will hold a conference committee to consolidate the bills and send a final version to the president. But the fact that Congress is addressing JJDPA at all, after 15 years, counts as a victory.

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