In a Jan. 1 editorial, The New York Times provided the answer: “The juvenile justice system in the United States is supposed to focus on rehabilitation for young offenders. But for generations, it has largely been a purgatory, failing to protect them or give them the help and counseling they need to become law‐abiding adults.
“Children who end up in juvenile courts often do not get due process protections like written complaints presenting the charges against them … or meaningful assistance of counsel” (“Juvenile Court Reform in Tennessee,” The New York Times).
This editorial laggardly followed a vital story about Shelby County, Tenn., and the Department of Justice that was buried inside the Dec. 18, 2012, Times. The story should have been on the front page; it had almost been entirely ignored by the media in all its forms:
“The county and the Justice Department signed an extensive agreement to overhaul the county’s juvenile justice system” (“Deal Signed in Tennessee on Justice for Youths,” Kim Severson, The New York Times, Dec. 18, 2012).
I was glad to discover that the Justice Department does remember the actual meaning of its name, after its torture rationalizations under George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and its agreement with Barack Obama’s personally directed “kill lists.”
This Dec. 17, 2012, agreement contained some “first of its kind” policies, as reported by the Times, that were the result of the Justice Department’s 2009 investigation into Shelby County’s juvenile justice system. Among the frightful distortions of the Constitution the department found: