Treating kids like criminals just makes criminals. Kansas finally gets it.

Kansas Senate Bill 367 is a big deal.

Kansas has a major juvenile justice problem on its hands.

With more than 200 centers housing troubled youth across the state, Kansas has an abnormally high rate of young repeat offenders and a high rate of courts removing kids from their homes to stay in such facilities, KMBC 9 News reported. Those two facts could have something to do with one another (which actually makes a lot of sense).

That's why Senate Bill 367 — heralded as "the state’s premier piece of legislation in 2016" — is actually a big deal.



Senate Bill 367 prioritizes treatment and rehabilitation over punishment for many juvenile offenders in hopes it will keep kids from becoming criminals down the road.

Under the law, low-level offenders — kids who aren't considered a threat to public safety — will be less likely to be sentenced to a juvenile center for probation violations, according to The Topeka-Capital Journal. Instead, they'll stay with their families and participate in community programs that provide services like counseling and therapy.

Throughout the next five years, the number of kids sent to out-of-home facilities for their offenses will drop roughly 60%, The Kansas City Star reported. That will save the state about $72 million over that time period — funds that will be redirected toward the community programs.

A detention center for juveniles in France. Photo by Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images.

"Being smart on crime promotes public safety and the rehabilitation of youthful offenders so that they can become law-abiding citizens," said Gov. Sam Brownback, who signed the bill into law on April 11, 2016. "The legislation aligns our juvenile justice system with what the research shows works best to reduce victimization, keep families strong, and guide youth towards a better path."

Brownback is right — research has shown treatment over incarceration has better long-term effects for individuals and communities alike. So why aren't more states on board?

Detention centers are harmful to kids and make it less likely that kids who spend time there will become successful, stable adults. That affects all of us.

According to a report from the Justice Policy Institute, juvenile detention centers can have "a profoundly negative impact on young people’s mental and physical well-being, their education, and their employment." The nonprofit points out these centers can increase rates of depression and suicide among youth, and reduce their ability to retain a job after leaving.

What's more, juvenile centers — like the larger U.S. justice system — disproportionately harm minorities: Even when they commit the same crimes as their white counterparts, black and brown youth are more likely to be detained.

Photo via iStock.

On the other hand, there's plenty of research suggesting that treatment and rehabilitation services are successful at reducing recidivism, the act of falling back into criminal behavior, for adult and youth offenders alike.

Let's hope more state and federal officials take a hint from Kansas and prioritize the long-term wellbeing of our youth.

"The justice system, and therefore, policymakers, need to focus on the root causes of incarceration and on rehabilitation — not just punishment en masse," prisons reform author Christopher Zoukis wrote for The Huffington Post, noting our "youth can change and learn" before going too far down the wrong path.

"Kansas is taking steps in the right direction."

More
Youtube

Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

Most Shared
via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

Keep Reading Show less
Family