Overcoming the Prison Epidemic

Prison Bar(code)

Baltimore City detention center has made headlines after a scandal revealed the inmates were running the show and had been employing guards to smuggle in cell phones, food and drugs. Mother Jones recently produced a list of the top 10 worst prisons and the horrors that occur within their walls. In Louisiana, one in 86 adults is in prison. After release, ex-offenders are 38 times more likely to be unemployed than non-offenders.

Violence in prisons is nothing new; any TV show from OZ to The Wire will tell you that. In 2003, Congress enacted the Prison Rape Elimination Act, …read more

Kids with Guns

Guns don’t kill people. People kill people. Or so the story goes. So what happens when it’s a 4-year old doing the killing? In two incidents last week two different 4-year olds were able to access a loaded gun and accidently discharge it, killing a 6 year old playmate and a sheriff’s deputy’s wife. The result is there are now two dead, two children who will never be able to forget the tragedy they were a part of, and several families in ruins.

There are so many arguments that can come from these tragedies. We need better gun control, better …read more

Victory for Maryland Youth Advocates

The Just Kids Partnership seeks to ‘gather information and promote the discussion of effectively addressing crime allegedly committed by Maryland youth’. Campaign Consultation selected the Just Kids Partnership as a GIVE 5 recipient in 2011, and this week we are featuring a guest post telling the story of their recent victory protecting juveniles in the Maryland justice system.

After years of community opposition, organizing and advocacy the state has decided to not move forward with the construction of the proposed Baltimore City jail that would have housed youth charged as adults. This is a huge victory for the youth …read more

Responding to Tragedy

It is difficult to envision a more senseless tragedy than what occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary on Friday. Twenty young children and six adults were slain by a gunman who carried three weapons – including a semi-automatic rifle – into their school. Social media, television and radio have been flooded with discussions around gun control and mental health as people try to figure out how exactly we got to this point.

Polls show that 50% of Americans agree to the statement “gun ownership should have strong regulations or restrictions” – up from 42% prior to the shooting at Sandy Hook. …read more

Childhood Obesity Rates Starting to Decline

For decades, child obesity rates have been on the rise throughout the country. At present, 12.5 million people under the age of 20 are overweight or obese.

However, this trend might finally be reversing. For the first time in 30 years, several American cities are reporting their first declines. In places like New York and Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Anchorage, Alaska, and Kearney, Nebraska the number of obese school-aged children have dropped from 3 to 5.5%. The state of Mississippi has also registered a drop, but only among white students.

While these numbers may seem small at …read more

High Infant death a Reality in the U.S.

Bili light with newborn Photo by Jeremy Kemp, 4/10/05 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You probably don’t associate the phrase “high infant mortality rate” with the United States, but according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one state has a shockingly high rate of infant deaths.

Last year in Mississippi 9.4 babies out of every 1,000 born died before their first birthday. When compared to the CIA World Factbook, Mississippi’s infant mortality rate is more comparable to countries such as Costa Rica (9.2), Sri Lanka (9.5) and Botswana (10.5) than the United States …read more

The Price of Education

On Tuesday, Oct. 9, 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai was doing what she did every day; coming home from school, when two men stopped the bus she was riding in and shot her in the head and neck. Two other girls were also shot. Yousafzai remains in critical condition but has luckily not suffered any lasting brain damage.

The man responsible for the attack on the Peshwar native is one of the Taliban’s most feared commanders, Maulana Fazlullah.

The young girl and the dangerous leader have a long history. In 2009, the then 11-year-old Malala went toe-to-toe with the man nicknamed “Radio …read more

New York City’s Plan B to Stem Teen Pregnancy

The New York City Department of Education has started offering Plan B emergency contraception to high school students in 13 of the city’s high schools. The pills will be made available, free of charge, to students through the school nurse without parental consent or notification. Parents do have the option to opt out of the emergency contraception program for their teens at the school. However, only 1-2% of parents have opted out of the program, according to the Department of Education.

The emergency contraception is being offered as a part of CATCH- Connecting Adolescents To Comprehensive Health – which aims …read more

Update: Delhi Charter School Ordered to Cease Pregnancy Test on “Suspect” Students

Yesterday, we shared a controversial policy implemented by Delhi Charter School. This Louisiana school’s policy requires girls who are “suspected” of being pregnant to take a pregnancy test. If the pregnancy is confirmed or student refuses to be tested, she is then kicked out of the school.

Here is a brief update on the policy: Last night, state officials from the Louisiana State Department of Education ordered the school to “change the policy within a week or face sanctions.”

According to an article in The Guardian, the school did not have an immediate response to the demand, however, the principal, …read more

Boy Scouts Reaffirms Anti-Gay Policy

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has decided to uphold their longtime policy of banning gays from joining the organization. This means that openly gay boys can’t be Scouts and gay and lesbian adults can’t serve as leaders. A statement issued by the organization said that the exclusion policy “reflects the beliefs and perspectives” of the Boy Scouts.

According to the statement, a committee of 11 volunteers and professional leaders were chosen to “evaluate whether the policy was in the best interests of the organization.” While the BSA claims the committee “included a diversity of perspectives” and engaged in “extensive …read more