State parks ‘couldn’t function without volunteers’

Barbara Lee of Council Bluffs took her daughter to Lake Manawa State Park’s playground in the early 1990s. Now she’s able to watch her granddaughter play in an updated version in Dreamland Park. The 18,000-square-foot playground, which opened in 2018, cost $1.3 million to produce. More than 1,200 volunteers from ages 3 to 88 took part in making the project possible; it replaced a wooden playground from 1992. A team of civic leaders drove the million-dollar mission, obtaining several $100,000 grants and assisting in construction.

Dying while denying: one of the heart wrenching stories from treating COVID patients

Kirstin Brainard’s daily rounds as a floor nurse at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics’ medical intensive care unit are a mix of reviewing how patients have done the past 24 hours, helping treat those patients and taking new admissions. Brainard is part of an 8-person team, which has to be ready to deal with any emergency on the hospital floor.

‘A disjointed system’: Policing policies fuel criminalization of youth

“I thought Des Moines, Iowa, was gonna be better. But, you know, if you don’t change something, you’re going to still fall into the same thing you’ve been doing.” Melvin Gaye, Iowa juvenile offender. The history of police in America is a story of repeated promises to change from its gatekeepers, yet people of color, adolescents and other vulnerable populations say they continuously bear the brunt of its shortcomings. This report is part of Kids Imprisoned, an investigation of juvenile justice in America produced by the Carnegie-Knight News21 program. For more stories, visit kidsimprisoned.news21.com.21 special report

Youth in America are criminalized every day, with racial and socioeconomic disparities further increasing their likelihood of being policed, arrested or killed by law enforcement.

The ununited state of juvenile justice in America

As a child in the United States, justice often depends on where you live, the color of your skin, which police officer arrests you, or which judge, prosecutor or probation officer happens to be involved in your case. Juvenile courts across the country processed nearly 750,000 cases in 2018. About 200,000 of these cases involved detention – removing a young person from home and locking them away, according to data from the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. 

This report is part of Kids Imprisoned, an investigation of juvenile justice in America produced by the Carnegie-Knight News21 program. For more stories, visit kidsimprisoned.news21.com.21

Depending on where a young person lives, a crime like simple assault or gun possession could lead to a customized rehabilitation program with help from mentors. It also could mean confinement in a group home, where kids wear their own clothes and counselors call them by their first names.