Sunday, June 12, 2016

Tom Cotton's latest obstructionism: Wants to preserve jail option for hooky

Posted By on Sun, Jun 12, 2016 at 8:11 AM

click to enlarge BOOK 'EM TOM-O: Tom Cotton wants to preserve option to jail juveniles for such minor offenses as skipping school.
  • BOOK 'EM TOM-O: Tom Cotton wants to preserve option to jail juveniles for such minor offenses as skipping school.
John Lyon at the Arkansas News Bureau examines another of Sen. Tom Cotton's one-man Senate roadblocks — this one to a juvenile justice reform bill.

He wants to preserve the ability for judges to put juveniles in jail for skipping school or running away from home.  Many experts in the field think this is wrong-headed. Lyon notes that 24 states have prohibited the option for judges to incarcerate young people for minor juvenile infractions.

“Brain science, a lot of research, has shown that locking up youth is very detrimental to their development,” said Cheri Ely, the council’s juvenile justice program director. “There are a lot better ways to address their offenses and make amends to the community. It’s very hurtful to take juveniles away from their families.”

Bill Kopsky, executive director of the Arkansas Public Policy Panel, said jailing juveniles for minor offenses drives up incarceration costs, contributes to jail overcrowding, makes it harder to find space for serious offenders and increases the likelihood that the juveniles will commit other offenses in the future.

“It’s as though we’re taking kids who aren’t criminals and converting them to it,” he said.
Do you get the idea Tom Cotton's report card had a check mark on the box "does not play well with others?"

Cotton didn't talk to Lyon. As is typical — because who knows what other questions might be asked if Cotton were made available to reporters other than right-wing shills — his spokesman responded. She said, hey, Arkansas legislators chose to retain the jail option when it passed justice legislation last year. Congress shouldn't second-guess the states. By that theory, black people still might not have the vote in Dixie. Fortunately, better spirits have sometimes prevailed in Washington than in the states. But that was before Tom Cotton.

Lyon notes that Sebastian County is the runaway winner in instances of jailing youths for status offenses with 145 in 2014. Second place was Jefferson County, with 36.

Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, the Judiciary Committee chair, said he wants to preserve the jail option but says he might favor legislation that would make judges use it more sparingly.

Arkansas, I'd note, is a leader, too, in the use of corporal punishment in schools. 

Tags: , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (13)

Showing 1-13 of 13

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-13 of 13

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • In defense of Planned Parenthood and abortion rights

    An op-ed in today's New York Time by Katha Pollitt says what I've been struggling to say about the reaction to the attack on women's reproductive rights launched by means of the undercover videos made by anti-abortion activists.
    • Aug 5, 2015
  • Lawyers plead for mercy in Fort Smith forum shopping case

    Twelve of the lawyers facing punishment by federal Judge P.K. Holmes in Fort Smith for moving a class action case against an insurance company out of his court to a state court where it was speedily settled have filed their argument against sanctions.
    • Jun 16, 2016
  • 2nd guilty plea in bribery case over state mental health services

    Arkansas Business reports here on a federal court filing Wednesday that shows a second person has pleaded guilty to a bribery scheme to help a major contractor of the state Department of Human Services.
    • Sep 17, 2015

Most Shared

Visit Arkansas

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Arkansas is the perfect place to try out this new health trend. Read all about the what, why, where and how here.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation