I've been composing this blog for three days now, with few breaks. I want it to be a library of sorts - a virtual infoshop - where folks can find pretty much every juvenile justice link they need in one place. Because of the diversity of issues among youth in both the juvenile and adult systems, that's nearly impossible. There's so much information I want to share that it's begun to bog me down; I just can't put it all up there, and I'm afraid to crowd the really good stuff out.
So, my friends, I will need your help, especially these next few weeks. If you peruse this page and see something missing that should be here, email me. If you hit a broken link or read an article that seems inappropriate, let me know. If you have suggestions for a published article, send me a link and I'll check it out. Same with general issues about the system or facilities that you want to learn more about - maybe I can find some things that are already published and post them, or make a few calls and write something up. You are also welcome to write your own opinion pieces and submit them - I don't have guidelines - just be decent, reasonable, and accurate. All emails of that sort should go to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As for allegations of neglect, abuse, poor facilities, or particularly brutal twists in the juvenile justice system - let me have them and we'll discuss where to go. We may use the blog to expose issues that haven't seen much light yet; first-hand accounts can be very enlightening, and while I'd prefer to have everything on the record, I will respect requests for people to remain anonymous if they fear retaliation. We may also quietly contact the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and request a CRIPA investigation instead (as was done with the AzDJC about abuse at their programs a few years back). We may even turn what you have over to the Phoenix New Times if it seems to demand investigative journalism - they are much faster than the DOJ. Whatever we do, it will be our decision (yours and mine), not just mine.
Finally, if families and community members - even AzDJC employees - want to meet and organize around juvenile justice reforms, let me know and I'll help people connect with each other. In the meantime, if there are one or two people willing to help with this blog - doing research, fine tuning the margins, following up with feedback and concerns, writing editorials - please contact me: Peggy Plews, email@example.com, or 480-580-6807.
JULY 21, 2011: Peg's Blogs on Hiatus...
Until I'm able to get a grip on blogging regularly and thoughtfully again here (or until someone else steps in to anchor the site), I encourage people to check out Carl Toersbijns' blog (he's a former Deputy Warden for the AZ Department of Corrections, and while not an abolitionist, he's a strong advocate for the prisoners with mental illness, and for broad-based prison reform in AZ). You may also want to drop in on Middle Ground Prison Reform's site for news.