press release
1/16/13 06:41PM

Community Rallies for Changes in Juvenile Justice

Community leaders will join the Southern Poverty Law Center in rallying residents to demand improvements to Florida's broken juvenile justice system. An open community forum will take place at 7 pm, Jan. 22, 2013, at Beulah Baptist Institutional, 1006 West Cypress Street, Tampa.

Rev. Mel Harris and representatives from the Southern Poverty Law Center will hold an open meeting in Tampa on Jan. 22, to rally support for changes in Florida's Juvenile Justice system.  The community forum will begin at 7p.m. on January 22, at Beulah Baptist Institutional, 1006 West Cypress Street.

"Across the state of Florida, children continue to be pushed out of their local schools, arrested for minor infractions, and sent away to Florida's juvenile prisons," Rev. Harris said. "This practice does not make our communities safer, instead our children become victims of a broken system."

Last year, Florida saw more than 58,000 children arrested--at a rate 40% higher than the national average--according to Rev. Harris.  "Most--67% --of these children faced their first arrest for misdemeanors." More than 14,700 of these children were arrested in public schools.  The vast majority affected have been African American youth, he added.

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