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How America Outlawed Adolescence

At least 22 states and dozens of cities and towns currently outlaw school disturbances in one way or another. South Dakota prohibits “boisterous” behavior at school, while Arkansas bans “annoying conduct.” Florida makes it a crime to “interfere with the lawful administration or functions of any educational institution”—or to “advise” another student to do so. In Maine, merely interrupting a teacher by speaking loudly is a civil offense, punishable by up to a $500 fine.

SJC Chief Wants to Know If Minorities Get ‘Equal Justice’

Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants said Thursday he has commissioned a probe into sentencing disparities for minority defendants in the state’s criminal justice system, saying Massachusetts should take “a hard look at how we can better fulfill our promise to provide equal justice for every litigant.”

Gants Launches Study of Racial Disparities in Incarceration

The state must confront racial disparities in imprisonment rates and move to “reimagine” a flawed criminal justice system to focus less on incarceration and more on lowering recidivism, Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants said on Thursday.

Arkansas Senate Report

A legislative task force on criminal justice has recommended changes in sentencing laws with the goal of controlling overcrowding of jails and prisons.

The legislature will consider the recommendations during the 2017 regular session, which begins in January. Some proposals would require additional state funding, so the preliminary work on prison reform will necessarily take place during legislative budget hearings that are going on now.

Nevada Task Force Analyzes How to Improve Juvenile Justice System

Compromised of lawmakers, judges and other officials, the task force wants to create better resources for youth cycling through the juvenile justice system.  Research showed that Nevada has seen a significant drop in the number of youth referred to the system, but a greater proportion of juveniles are receiving supervision, placed into residential centers and the state correctional facility. And services such as substance abuse, mental heath and therapy are not aligned with what youth need.

Baker, Legislative Leaders Huddle on Criminal Justice Reform

Leaders of all three branches of state government huddled for over two hours in Gov. Charlie Baker’s office on Monday to review research being conducted by an outside non-profit into potential criminal justice reforms that could help reduce incarceration rates and recidivism in Massachusetts.