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Group Calls For Changes To Juvenile Justice In D.C.

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Former Superior Court Judge Eugene Hamilton discusses juvenile justice on a panel with Vincent Schiraldi, the head of D.C.'s Department of Youth Rehabilitative Services.
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Former Superior Court Judge Eugene Hamilton discusses juvenile justice on a panel with Vincent Schiraldi, the head of D.C.'s Department of Youth Rehabilitative Services.

It's meal time at the New Beginnings Youth Center in Laurel, Maryland and barbeque beef is on the menu. There are nearly 60 boys living here. They're D.C.'s most serious juvenile offenders.

Every single one of them is African American.

"I mean, that just defies reason," says Eugene Hamilton, a former judge in D.C. Superior Court, as he stands next to one of the cafeteria tables.

"There are some non-minority children who are committing crimes in the District of Columbia. But for one reason or another they're not arrested, they're not put into the system and so, consequently, none of them end up at New Beginnings."

Hamilton is part of a group making recommendations to the D.C. Council about changing the juvenile justice system. The group says police officers, prosecutors and judges need to be trained differently, to help minorities better navigate the system.

It also wants the city to reevaluate law enforcement inside D.C. public schools.

David Schultz reports...

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