Posts Tagged department of justice

Tennessee Juvenile Detention Center Fails to Protect Children’s Rights

From The Commercial Appeal in Memphis:

Federal officials announced today that an investigation of Shelby County’s juvenile justice system found violations of children’s constitutional rights and discrimination against African-American children.

Prepared remarks by Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and U.S. Atty. Edward L. Stanton III said an investigation opened in August 2009 found that the Shelby County system “fails to provide constitutionally required due process to all children appearing for delinquency proceedings, that the court’s administration of juvenile justice discriminates against African-American children and that its detention center violates the substantive due process rights of detained youth by not providing them with reasonably safe conditions of confinement.”

Justice Department attorneys visited the court and detention center in 2010 and 2011 for the review, and the investigation included analysis of 60,000 youth files. . . .

The complaint filed by Brooks in 2007 alleged mistreatment of juveniles based on race, discriminatory hiring practices, widespread nepotism and political patronage and disregard for federal anti-discrimination laws.

Read the rest here.

For further reading, you can read the Department of Justice’s press release and letter on the investigation here.

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$2.4 Million in DOJ Funding Toward Improving Indigent Defense

From the ABA Journal:

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder today announced two new Justice Department programs aimed at helping to bolster indigent defense services at the state and local levels.

Between them, the two programs will make up to $2.4 million in federal funding available to research projects studying the barriers that prevent criminal defendants from receiving effective legal assistance, and to support direct efforts to break down those barriers.

“These initiatives represent an unprecedented level of support—from this Justice Department and from the administration as a whole—for reforming America’s legal system, and improving its ability to serve those who find quality representation to be out of reach,” said Holder in a luncheon speech at the Seventh Annual Summit on Indigent Defense Improvement presented by the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants. The summit was held in New Orleans during the ABA’s 2012 Midyear Meeting.

Holder announced that the National Institute of Justice, a part of the Office of Justice Programs, will begin officially soliciting applications within the next few weeks for grants to support research on fundamental issues of access to legal services, including the need for quality representation, at the state and local levels. He said the institute will commit up to $1 million to support these grants.

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