from the frontlines: Sept. 12, 2022

increase in guns

Juvenile arrest charges have doubled this year, and police are concerned about the increase they’ve seen in teenagers carrying guns. There were 986 arrests of children under 18 between Jan. 1 and Aug. 28. Dayton Daily News (Sep. 5, 2022) 

violent Labor Day weekend

At least 12 people were shot in Philadelphia during the Labor Day weekend. One of the shootings involved six victims, including a 33-year-old woman and 19-year-old man. Philadelphia Inquirer (Sep. 5, 2022) 

special master request

A judge granted former President Donald Trump’s request for a special master to review documents from Mar-a-Lago. She also ordered the government to cease any review or use of the materials for its criminal investigation. At the Sept. 1 hearing, the Justice Department laid out its argument against the special master and signaled it was likely to appeal such a ruling. Cannon set a deadline for Sept. 9 for the two parties to submit joint filing. NPR (Sep. 5, 2022)

curfew enforced

In one Maryland county will temporarily enforce a state curfew for teens. 430 juvenile’s have been arrested so far this year charged with carjacking, violent crime, or gun offense. In D.C., teens criticized the effectiveness of a similar curfew ABC News (Sep. 6, 2022) 

pubic defenders overwhelmed

Maine officials may ask lawyers to stop accepting new assignments from the courts because lawyers who represent defendants who cannot afford their own counsel are overwhelmed. Eleven lawyers have more than 301 open cases and half of the open cases are managed by 33 lawyers. Among the attorneys still accepting new cases as of Aug. 9, there were 23,655 open cases. Maine Monitor (Sep. 4, 2022)

population skyrockets

Height of the pandemic led Colorado prisons and county jails to make policy changes to lower inmate populations. By the end of June 2019, the state had a total of 14,227 incarcerated people. In January of 2021, population was low as 10, 636, but it increased by almost 2000 people by the end of June 2022. Colorado Newsline (Sep. 6, 2022)

standstill

A cross agency group in Vermont has not been able to agree on proposals for treating criminal defendants with severe mental illness. The debate underlines the challenge in addressing one of the root causes of some of Vermont’s most high-profile violent crimes. The final report was supposed to be completed by Aug. 1 of this year but is being pushed to Jan. 2023. VT Digger (Sep. 5, 2022)

prison system shrinks

Michigan’s inmate population hit a 30-year-low. This resulted in cost-cutting and downsizing measures that include the closure of a prison. Michigan ranks in the top five worst in the nation for released people ending up incarcerated again. MLive (Sep. 7, 2022)

understaffed

Three presidents of King County’s largest law enforcement unions claim staffing shortages are jeopardizing victim’s right to justice due to inmates suffering from long lockups. One woman says her boyfriend has been awaiting trial for 18 months. The King County Police Officers Guild and King County Corrections Guild are losing more officers than that are being hired. They are down 100 officers and the staff that are there are only being used for emergency cases in the jails. The three unions are considering a campaign to raise awareness of the staffing issues. Fox 13 Seattle (Sep. 7, 2022) 

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Lonyae started working as a Research and Reporting Intern for The Des in August 2022. She is a senior at Texas Christian University, pursuing a degree in Journalism with a minor in Writing. At The Des she is most excited for working with new staff, expanding her storytelling skills in her writing as well as expanding her knowledge in the criminal justice system.