Juvenile Justice

Crime
3:23 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Georgia Receives Low Rank For Protection Of Records For Young Offenders

Georgia was among the bottom 15 states in the Juvenile Law Center's ranking of states and their protection of juvenile records.
Credit Juvenile Law Center

Say you were convicted of shoplifting a couple of times when you were 13. Fifty years later, you would hope that wouldn’t still be on your record.

But in some states, like Georgia, it probably is. And anyone can access it.

"Everyone assumes that these records are confidential and I think that’s because the public also wants them to be confidential,” says Lourdes Rosado with the Juvenile Law Center. 

Rosado says most states – including Georgia – are doing a poor job.

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Education
6:00 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Report: Juvenile Justice Schools Doing More Harm Than Good

Credit Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice

Juvenile justice education programs may be doing more harm than good according to a new study by the Atlanta-based Southern Education Foundation.

Through a compilation of federal data, the report concludes incarcerated youths often receive an education worse than they would outside the juvenile justice system, and one that’s more expensive.

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Local
10:44 am
Tue December 31, 2013

New Laws Take Effect January 1

Wednesday is the start of a new year and that means some new state laws will take effect. 

A new ethics law will restrict the amount of money lobbyists can spend on public officials. Although lobbyists will only be able to spend $75 at a time, they will be allowed to make multiple expenditures. Gov. Nathan Deal praised the legislation when he signed it in May.

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Local
6:00 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Some Georgia Inmates Serving Life Sentences Without Parole To Be Re-Sentenced

Some Georgia prisoners serving life sentences without parole will be re-sentenced after a recent state Supreme Court ruling invalidated the terms under which those inmates were punished.

Those who qualify for resentencing would have been sentenced before they turned 18 and faced the death penalty. Stephen Reba, an attorney with Emory University’s Barton Child Law and Policy Center, says the majority of those who will see new sentences would be about 30 years old today.

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"The 5:44" with Denis O'Hayer
7:50 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Controversial Youth Detention Facility to Close: A Talk with State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver

State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur)
Credit Ga. General Assembly

    On Monday, October 28, 2013, Georgia Juvenile Justice Commissioner Avery Niles announced the state will not renew the contract with Youth Services International to manage the Paulding County Regional Youth Detention Center, and the facility will close at the end of the year.

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Local
5:03 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Gwinnett Judge says Georgia Juvenile Justice Reform Will Cost Counties

Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

A Gwinnett County judge is critical of juvenile justice reform passed by the Georgia legislature this year and championed by Governor Nathan Deal. Even though the reform is supposed to save the state money, Gwinnett’s chief juvenile court judge says it places an undue financial burden on Georgia counties.

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"The 5:44" with Denis O'Hayer
8:26 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

A Conversation with Georgia Juvenile Justice Commissioner Avery Niles, Part 2

State Juvenile Justice Commissioner Avery Niles talks with WABE's Denis O'Hayer in an interview at the commissioner's office in DeKalb County; July 25, 2013.
Credit Jim Shuler

  In June 2013, a U.S. Justice Department survey found Georgia had one of the nation's highest percentages of young offenders who said they had also become victims of abuse -- including sexual abuse -- in Georgia's juvenile detention facilities.

 A subsequent probe by the state Department of Juvenile Justice found a backlog of hundreds of cases in which the investigations of the complaints remained incomplete for longer than the maximum 45 days.

All of this raised questions for Juvenile Justice Commissioner Avery Niles, who had taken office in November.  

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"The 5:44" with Denis O'Hayer
8:21 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

A Conversation with Georgia Juvenile Justice Commissioner Avery Niles, Part 1

State Juvenile Justice Commissioner Avery Niles talks with WABE's Denis O'Hayer in an interview at the commissioner's office in DeKalb County; July 25, 2013.
Credit Jim Shuler

In June 2013, a U.S. Justice Department survey found Georgia had one of the nation's highest percentages of young offenders who said they had also become victims of abuse -- including sexual abuse -- in Georgia's juvenile detention facilities.

 A subsequent probe by the state Department of Juvenile Justice found a backlog of hundreds of cases in which the investigations of the complaints remained incomplete for longer than the maximum 45 days.

All of this raised questions for Juvenile Justice Commissioner Avery Niles, who had taken office in November.  

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Local
4:46 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Juvenile Justice Commissioner Speaks After Sex Abuse Allegation Investigation

Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

Georgia’s Juvenile Justice Commissioner and other top Department of Juvenile Justice officials spoke out for the first time Thursday since the completion of an internal investigation.

The investigation found a backlog of 700 open cases, 141 of which had some type of sex abuse or harassment allegations. Three of those cases have been substantiated and another dozen are under investigation.

The investigation followed a federal survey where Georgia had one of the highest percentages of juveniles self-reporting they were sexually victimized in state detention facilities.

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Local
11:23 am
Tue July 23, 2013

Advocate Says Georgia DJJ Needs to Assist Sexual Abuse Victims

Credit Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice

Advocates are reacting to the completion of a month-long internal investigation into a number of open sex abuse allegation cases in Georgia’s juvenile detention centers. The investigation found 700 cases of unresolved cases. 141 of those cases meet the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice’s definition of sex abuse and harassment. The investigation came after a federal survey which showed Georgia had one of the highest percentages of offenders who reported being sexually victimized.

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"The 5:44" with Denis O'Hayer
7:32 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Co-Sponsor Says Juvenile Justice Secrecy Bill May Be Changed After Federal Sex Assault Report

State Sen. Jason Carter (D-Atlanta)
Credit Georgia General Assembly

  Last week, Georgia Juvenile Justice Commissioner Avery Miles ordered a review by a state advisory committee, after a new Federal survey found Georgia had one of the nation's highest rates of sexual victimization of young people in state juvenile detention centers.

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Local
5:58 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Georgia Juvenile Justice Commissioner Orders Review After Sexual Victimization Survey

Credit Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice

Georgia’s Juvenile Justice Commissioner announced Friday he’s ordering a review by a state advisory committee after a recent federal survey.  According to survey, Georgia’s juvenile detention centers are among the worst in the U.S. for the percentage of offenders self-reporting they were sexually victimized by staff and others.

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Local
3:40 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Juvenile Justice Overhaul Signed Into Law

Gov. Nathan Deal signing juvenile justice reform bill in Dalton today.
Credit Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice

To keep kids out of detention centers and help cut down on costs, Governor Nathan Deal today signed into law an overhaul of the juvenile justice system.

The measure allows judges far greater flexibility to steer kids into community-based help, rather than incarceration. It also includes millions for a pilot program aimed at bolstering local counseling programs.

Eric John, director of the Council of Juvenile Court Judges of Georgia, applauded the reform package.

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WABE News
5:41 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Gov. Deal Wants New Focus on Inmate Rehabilitation

Credit Ken Mayer via Flickr

Over the last two years, Gov. Nathan Deal has pushed legislation aimed at getting nonviolent criminals out of prisons and youth detention centers.   

Now he’s turning his focus to helping former inmates re-enter the workforce.

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Politics
5:30 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Gov. Deal Highlights Ethics, Juvenile Justice in Legislative Overview

Gov. Nathan Deal speaking before the Atlanta Press Club.
Credit Office of the Governor

Speaking before the Atlanta Press Club in downtown Atlanta, Governor Nathan Deal discussed some of the major accomplishments of the past legislative session, including a bill aimed at reducing the influence of special interests at the Capitol.

Deal admitted the ethics bill is flawed, but said it represents progress.

“Even though that [the ethics bill] does not do everything that everybody wants, I think it is a significant step in the right direction.”

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"The 5:44" with Denis O'Hayer
7:11 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Calls on Legislature to Pass Juvenile Justice Reform

Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Carol Hunstein listens as House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) introduces her for her annual State of the Judiciary speech to a joint session of the Legislature on February 7, 2013.
Credit Denis O'Hayer/WABE News

  The Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court urged Georgia lawmakers to move ahead with a major overhaul of the system for treating and punishing young offenders.

In her annual State of the Judiciary address at the State Capitol on Thursday, February 7th, Chief Justice Carol Hunstein said Georgia’s current get-tough approach to young offenders is expensive and ineffective.  And she said most kids in trouble have not committed violent crimes.

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WABE News
3:33 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Push to Divert Youth Offenders from Detention Centers

Dept. of Juvenile Justice Commissioner Avery Niles gives an overview of the agency's finances at today's budget hearings at the Capitol.

Last year, Governor Nathan Deal led a broad effort to reduce the state's adult prison population. This year, Deal is seeking a similar overhaul of the juvenile system.

No legislation has been proposed yet, but ongoing budget hearings at the Capitol give some insight into what a reform package may look like.

Before state lawmakers Tuesday, Deal  requested $5 million for a new pilot program aimed at diverting low-risk offenders from detention centers to counseling programs and alternative treatment centers.

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