Rep. Joseph Kennedy III drew on the spirit of his grandfather Robert F. Kennedy this morning, casting juvenile justice as an urgent civil rights issue in a rousing and eloquent keynote address at the inaugural Probation System Reform Symposium.
He applauded the 200-plus symposium attendees, many of them people who work with children in the system, for being on the front lines of this movement and putting reforms into place that de-emphasize punishment and throwing children deeper into the system. The juvenile justice system isn't just about cells; it's more about the systems in place after the child has been released, Kennedy said.
The Democratic congressman from Massachusetts talked about how the juvenile justice system is not an illness, but a symptom of the deeper illness of poverty. Far too often the juvenile justice system is "an enemy, not a friend" to the poor, who disproportionately end up in the system in an implacable cycle, he said.
[For more of this story, written by Daryl Khan, go to http://jjie.org/rep-kennedy-ca...rights-issue/223913/]