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Report: State Courthouses Continue To Violate Juvenile Justice Law

Massachusetts officials continue to violate a federal law that prevents youth defendants from being able to see or hear adult offenders, according to an analysis of federal data by the Boston Globe.

Court officials promised in 2014 to correct its violations to the "sight-sound" provision of the U.S. Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act after a report by the Boston Globe found the courts had been in violation for years.

"We are moving as reasonably quickly as we can to get this problem solved," said then-Trial Court Administrator Lewis H. Spence.

Annual inspection reports indicate that the state has been violating the required juvenile "sight-sound separation" since at least 2009.

A three-year plan released by the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security indicated the violations will not be resolved until 2022.

A Trial Court official said the age of Massachusetts courthouses is the reason behind the state's noncompliance.

Erika Gully-Santiago, a spokeswoman for the Executive Office of the Trial Court, wrote in an email that 65% of courthouses in the state are more than 50 years old. Gully-Santiago wrote that non-compliant courthouses are scheduled for renovations.


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