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

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

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…

  • Women's March planned in Arkansas to mark Trump inauguration

    Speaking of Donald Trump and in answer to a reader's question: There will be a women's march in Arkansas on Jan. 21, the day after inauguration, as well as the national march planned in Washington.
    • Dec 30, 2016
  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017
  • Your daily dose of Jason Rapert

    Sen. Jason Rapert really, really didn't like it when a KATV reporter asked him about the hypocrisy of his political arguments.
    • Feb 4, 2017

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Slideshows

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation