ACLU Sues Riverside County for Program Criminalizing Youth
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FEATURING HANNAH COMSTOCK – The ACLU of Southern California has filed a class-action lawsuit against Riverside County for a bizarre student disciplinary program called the Youth Accountability Team or YAT.
Founded more than 17 years ago, the YAT is run by the Riverside County Probation Department and was apparently meant to help at-risk youth stay in school. But the program’s punitive measures end up criminalizing children for such things as bad grades and acting out.
The suit was filed on behalf of three young people who have been targeted by the program as well as a youth mentoring program called Sigma Beta Xi which works with youth of color in Riverside. Not surprisingly the Riverside County YAT program disproportionately targets black and brown children.
Many have denounced YAT as facilitating the school-to-prison pipeline. The ACLU goes further calling it “oppressive” and “unconstitutional.”
Hannah Comstock, Attorney with ACLU, Loyola Law School Postgraduate Public Interest Fellow.
**This segment was originally broadcast on July 18, 2018.