A typical day in the family courthouse consists of hallways filled with parents and children, all waiting anxiously to have their cases heard. Family dynamics can play a significant role in why a juvenile is actually in the juvenile court system, but they also have a strong influence on what occurs inside the courtroom. It’s heartbreaking enough to see a child looking around to see no relatives around. Even worse is when a family member shows up only to ensure the youth doesn’t go home with them. On those days, I, as a former assistant district attorney in Allegheny County, would glimpse into the lives of broken families.
These stories were prevalent, but the most devastating to me were those involving female juvenile offenders. Of course, it wasn’t lost on me that the girls I’m referring to in these situations were practically all black, like me.Read More