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New Legal Force to End Racism in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare

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2009-06-29 05:05:08     
TimeBanks USA

A new legal force launched by TimeBanks USA aims to bring the ineffective and expensive rote practice of sending minority youth to confinement to a screeching halt. Using a new legal strategy making it easier to prove intent to discriminate, the TimeBanks Racial Justice Initiative will begin putting judges and their communities on formal notice of the injuries resulting from juvenile confinement practices and of much more effective and affordable alternatives.

The novel legal strategy will be released June 30 in a special, pre-publication release of the University of DC Law Review. The law review article, An Offer They Can't Refuse, establishes that if judges and other officials are on notice of better alternatives to the disparate practice of incarceration and choose to ignore those alternatives, they can held accountable for injuries.

Using a series of public hearings across the nation, the TimeBanks Racial Justice Initiative will put judges and state legislators on formal notice of the injuries resulting from juvenile confinement practices and of the availability of validated more effective and less expensive alternatives to youth incarceration.

"Through the Racial Justice Initiative, there is now a moral, economic and legal force to compel judges and other officials to choose from an array of proven practices that help, not harm, America's youth," said Edgar Cahn, co-founder, TimeBanks USA and co-author of the journal article - An Offer They Can't Refuse.

"The high numbers of youth being incarcerated when there are clearly safer, more effective options is a profound injustice. It is harming youth and our communities and squandering precious resources," said Cynthia Robbins, noted youth advocate, lawyer and co-author of An Offer They Can't Refuse.

Minorities are 35% of the U.S. youth population but comprise 65% of all youth who are imprisoned preadjudication. On average, African American and Latino juveniles are confined, respectively, 61 and 112 days longer than white youth.

Alternatives like the Time Dollar Youth Court used in Washington, D.C., Madison, Wis., and Houston, Texas, among others, work better and are cheaper than incarceration. Conservative estimates set the annual cost of detention at $50,000 per minor while most community-based programs cost less than one-fourth of that amount.

Specialized in: Legal Force - End Racism - Juvenile Justice - Child Welfare
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