juvenile justice

There’s something universally jarring about the sound of shackles. It’s slow and, while high-pitched, carries a timbre of gloom.

It’s especially unnerving when those shackles are chained to the feet and arms of a slight, young man, like the one who stood in front of an audience on a recent evening.

“At the end of the day, y’all are going home. I’m still locked up,” he told the group of young men sitting before him.

His words were quiet, but he had their full attention.

How This Miami Food Truck Is Run By At-Risk Youths

Aug 28, 2014
Carla Javier / WLRN

The Vibe 305 food truck serves up sandwiches with unconventional names: gratitude, hope, and opportunity, for example.

It's staffed by young men, 12 to 19 years old. They are part of the Empowered Youth USA program in Miami.

Creative Commons / Flickr user Bart Everson

Five hundred young adults in Broward County may soon wake up to clean criminal records if the County Commission gives the go-ahead at its meeting Tuesday afternoon.

These kids are first-time, non-violent offenders who were eligible for the Civil Citation Program for Juveniles but were instead arrested and slapped with a misdemeanor.

The program is an opportunity to look at the source of the trouble-making and engage with other kids in similar situations. At the completion of the program, no mention is ever made on the kid’s record.

National anti-crime group Fight Crime: Invest in Kids released a position paper last week in favor of Florida’s new standards for English language arts and math. The group argues assessments and higher standards can prevent crime.

Here’s the paper’s summary of the connection: