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Youth

All young people must have the opportunity to meaningfully participate in our society. The ACLU Youth Policy project seeks to ensure that young people – particularly those who have been historically excluded or underserved – receive meaningful education and services in communities, instead of being pushed to a juvenile justice system that will undermine their ability to be successful as adults. Our current focus is on reforming school discipline policies and practices, working to limit school-based referrals to the juvenile justice system, and decreasing the over-reliance on jails and prisons for young people in the juvenile and adult criminal law systems.

Topic Resources

Published: 
Monday, October 24, 2016
Restorative justice provides an alternative that can help break the cycle of over-incarceration for many offenses.  Restorative practices focus on repairing the harm that has been done, rather than simply punishing someone who has committed an offense by locking them up.
Published: 
Friday, October 21, 2016
Schools must refrain from trampling the free-speech rights of students, but if that’s all they do, their work is incomplete. Rather than approach student protests as something simply to be tolerated, schools should embrace the teachable moments they present.
Published: 
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
The ACLU of Washington recently filed friend of the court briefs in three cases urging the Washington Supreme Court to align the law with developments in brain science.
News Release, Published: 
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Federal Court Grants Class-Action Status in Challenge to Obama Administration
Published: 
Friday, April 29, 2016
This month, two high school students in Clarkston School District in Asotin County were charged originally with felony assault.  Their crime?  Discharging fart spray in the library.   
Published: 
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Youth are categorically different from adults. They are more impulsive, less able to fully comprehend the consequences of their actions, and hold greater promise for rehabilitation.
Published: 
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
When a juvenile is caught using or sharing an illegal drug, what is the appropriate community response? Should he or she be arrested and charged with a crime, or should he or she receive public health services?
Published: 
Monday, August 17, 2015
The WA Supreme Court has ruled that a judge can consider a defendant’s young age in imposing a sentence for a crime committed after his 18th birthday. The ruling affirmed what parents have known and scientists have confirmed: that the brain does not achieve full maturity until well past the age of 18.
Published: 
Monday, June 29, 2015
More than 100 years ago, Washington lawmakers created a separate juvenile justice system because they recognized that society benefits when juvenile courts focus on both accountability and rehabilitation.

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