Rarely do I post an entire article but I believe theTimes Leader won't mind the trackback to its article and the importance needed to get the message out.
HARRISBURG – Call it the state’s “Justice To-Do List.”
The Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice’s report is more than 60 pages, but the commission included a summary of recommendations.
Here’s the list, simplified:
•Create a statewide Juvenile Justice Victim Advocate Office.
•Restore the Victims of Juvenile Offenders program funding to 2005 levels.
•Create a Luzerne County Victims of Juvenile Crime Restitution Fund.
•Re-examine the Code of Judicial Conduct’s ethics and reporting provisions.
•Revise Judicial Conduct Board Internal Operating Procedures.
•Review the role and independence of the JCB staff in relation to the JCB members.
•Revise JCB annual reports.
•Revise the JCB website.
•Ensure judges and lawyers are aware of ethical responsibility to report misconduct.
•Review the state Constitution to ensure the JCB is accountable.
•Create educational programs to ensure lawyers and the public understand what constitutes attorney misconduct.
•Revise the attorney disciplinary board website.
•Increase attorney continuing legal education ethics requirements.
•The commission endorsed training standards adopted by state associations for district attorneys and juvenile defenders; the groups should develop continuing legal education courses for prosecutors and defense counsel.
•Continuing legal education should be mandatory for juvenile court judges.
•Emphasis should be placed on the importance of work in juvenile justice.
•The proposed standards for prosecutors in juvenile court should be implemented and resources to achieve them funded.
•Create a state funding stream for defense of indigent juveniles.
•Create a Center for Juvenile Defense Excellence.
•Ensure access to counsel by all indigent juveniles, restrict the right to waive counsel and require stand-by counsel for those who do waive the right but decide they have legal questions.
•The Chief Juvenile Probation Officers Association and all county probation departments should adopt standards of conduct and rules prohibiting partisan political activities by employees.
•The Court Administrator of Pennsylvania should conduct a national review to determine best practices for hiring policies.
•Continue State Supreme Court oversight of the Luzerne County juvenile justice system.
•Ensure adequate resources for the Juvenile Court Judges Commission to collect and analyze data.
•Enhance data collection and sharing among relevant agencies regarding the juvenile justice system.
•Require judges to state on the record how a juvenile disposition furthers the goals of state law.
•Study ways to reduce or eliminate shackling in juvenile courtrooms.
•Implement the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative model.
•Modify the standards governing the use of secure detention.
•Expand as a pilot program the Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory risks/needs instrument and employment of valid research and other evidence based risk assessment.
•Create a form advising juveniles of appeal rights.
•Develop Internet-based resources explaining how the appeals process works and how to get assistance.
•Expedite appeal reviews.
•Create a statewide office to assist in juvenile appeals.
•Enhance the allowance of nunc pro tunc (now for then) relief.
•Encourage county commissioners to attend the Academy for Excellence in County Government.
•Enhance understanding of roles and obligations of county court and executive officials.
•Discontinue zero-tolerance school policies.
•Enhance understanding of roles, obligations and cooperation among educational, law-enforcement and juvenile justice stakeholders.
•Keep the juvenile justice status of students confidential.
•Review educational curriculum for children in placement.
Mark Guydish, a Times Leader staff writer, can be reached at 829-7161