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Juvenile Justice: Pain and Promise
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EDITOR'S NOTE: Associate Editor Mary Hargrove and photographer Stephen B. Thornton spent a year tracking the fate of delinquent children sentenced to state facilities. Meet Charles, a 13-year-old with the IQ of a 5-year-old, who was handcuffed and taken to the state's most secure lockup for ringing a doorbell. And Christopher Rapier, a likeable boy whose life was spent battling good and evil -- with little help from his family or the state. A related series, Juvenile Justice: The War Within, published in June 1998, examined conditions in the state's juvenile justice system. Overview Day 1, Sunday, February 27: PAIN AND PROMISE -- At 13, Charles still couldn't pass first grade. He couldn't define "cow." Or "donkey." He couldn't tell time. His speech defect was so severe that he was nearly impossible to understand. When teased by other children, he cried hysterically.

Pain and Promise: Kids in storage -- can the state break the pattern?

posted: 02/27/2000 3:49 a.m.

At 13, Charles still couldn't pass first grade. He couldn't define "cow." Or "donkey." He couldn't tell time. His speech defect was so severe that he was nearly impossible to understand. When teased by other children, he cried hysterically.

Killers, rapists -- 'some wet the bed...are scared of the dark'

posted: 02/27/2000 3:55 a.m.

Linda Grover never saw it coming. She was herding children away from a fistfight during lunch when a table rammed her from behind in the cafeteria at the Alexander Youth Services Center.

State police 'dropped the ball' in youth's suicide inquiry

posted: 02/28/2000 3:59 a.m.

When 15-year-old Christopher Rapier was found hanging in a juvenile detention center in Danville, the Arkansas State Police was called to investigate.

A Boy Lost

posted: 02/28/2000 4:03 a.m.

"I'm going to tell you a story about a child who hurt others, who stole property, and who touched my soul. I saw him laugh. I saw him cry. I saw him in shackles and I saw him free. He looked like a man. He was a child."

Eight Hours of Terror

posted: 02/29/2000 4:05 a.m.

The boy's voice in her ear was soft, Roberta Thompson remembers. It sounded almost kind. At 3 a.m. on April 13, 1997, she had been his prisoner for eight hours.

Governor OK with plan to fix youth division

posted: 03/02/2000 4:08 a.m.

Gov. Mike Huckabee said Wednesday he fully endorses his Youth Services Division director's six-pronged plan to attack chronic problems of understaffing, poorly trained workers and lack of comprehensive treatment for child criminals.

Reforming of division supported

posted: 03/03/2000 4:11 a.m.

If they care about Arkansas' future, lawmakers shouldn't be stingy with the state budget when choosing whether to pay for a detailed reform plan for the beleaguered state Youth Services Division, key House and Senate members said Thursday.

Woman left for dead in '97 settles lawsuit against Florida firm

posted: 03/09/2000 4:13 a.m.

A West Memphis woman who was kidnapped, stabbed 27 times and run over with her own car by three teen-agers has received a settlement in a lawsuit against a Florida company she alleged was negligent.

EDITORIAL: Don't fail these kids: How to reshape Youth Services

posted: 03/11/2000 4:14 a.m.

THE MISSION of the state's Youth Services division is to house and reform Arkansas' delinquent kids. And it's not doing a good job.

Panel to analyze plan for revamping division

posted: 03/11/2000 4:17 a.m.

The state Youth Services Division director's five-year, six-pronged plan to attack chronic problems of understaffing, poorly trained workers and lack of comprehensive treatment for child criminals will be reviewed Wednesday by two legislative committees.

Youth Services vows to buck troubled past

posted: 03/16/2000 4:18 a.m.

For the first time, detention facilities at Arkansas' troubled Division of Youth Services will receive national accreditation, a status expected to be granted in 18 months, division officials promised Wednesday.

Jailed youths put at risk, panel told

posted: 04/21/2000 4:21 a.m.

The state Youth Services Division puts incarcerated youths at continued risk of sexual abuse by housing sex offenders with others, the head of Arkansas' youth justice watchdog agency told legislators Thursday.

Judges ask legislators for cash to aid youth services

posted: 08/18/2000 4:24 a.m.

A group of juvenile court judges urged legislators Thursday to give the director of the state's Division of Youth Services the money he needs to reform the troubled agency by emphasizing rehabilitation and treatment programs for young offenders.

Boy claims injury by lockup worker

posted: 06/04/2008 5:02 a.m.

A teenager at the Arkansas Juvenile Assessment and Treatment Center near Alexander has accused a staff member of "forcibly and intentionally" scraping the youth's face against the sidewalk on the campus while breaking up a fight just over a week ago, the state's ombudsman for youths said Tuesday.

Report: Lock up fewer youths

posted: 06/12/2008 4:38 a.m.

Arkansas' juvenile justice system needs to rely more on community-based programs rather than confinement, according to a report that will come out later this month.

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