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Kent v. United States: Fifty-One Years of Due Process for Youth Waived to Adult Court

Tuesday, 21 March 2017 Posted in Across the Country

By Catie Armstrong, Juvenile Justice Fellow

March 21, 2017 marks the fifty-first anniversary of Kent v. United States, 383 U.S. 541 (1966).  In Kent, 16 year-old Morris Kent was arrested in Washington D.C. for various charges.  Kent was placed in police custody for 24 hours, and while in custody he was questioned repeatedly about the alleged offenses.  He eventually admitted to some of the offenses.  Kent’s mother hired an attorney to handle his case, and together they prepared to enter the juvenile court system.  But what happened next would unexpectedly define a generation of due process rights for youth waived to the adult criminal justice system.

March is Youth Art Month

Friday, 17 March 2017 Posted in Voices

By Anne-Lise Vray, Communications Associate

In March, we celebrate Youth Art Month, a great occasion to also celebrate the art created by justice-involved youth and its healing properties. Art in all its forms is often a way for incarcerated youth to take their mind away from their harsh reality and to find hope that better days will come. For many, art is also a therapy and a soothing way to express themselves or expel their trauma. Organizations like Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop use art and creative expression to bring hope to youth in the justice system. Through books, creative writing, and peer support, Free Minds “awaken[s] DC youth incarcerated as adults to their own potential.” Organizations like Free Minds are crucial in the fight to ensure that justice-involved youth get a second chance and the support their need to build - or rebuild – their life.

International Women's Day: Standing in Solidarity with Justice-Involved Women

Tuesday, 07 March 2017 Posted in Across the Country

By Anne-Lise Vray, Communications Associate

Today, we wear red to stand in solidarity with our young justice-involved women. March 8 marks the 2017 edition of International Women’s Day, yet another occasion to remember that girls and women in the U.S. and across the world continue to face grave disparities and dangers in many – if not all - areas of society. When it comes to the justice system, girls are among the most vulnerable groups. They are the prime victims of the sexual abuse to prison pipeline, a term used to describe the pathways of gendered violence that lead girls into the juvenile justice system. And the numbers are terrifying. Reported rates of sexual abuse are more than four times higher for girls in the system than for boys. Rights 4 Girls cites that 1000 American children are arrested each year for prostitution and that 73 percent of girls in the juvenile justice system have histories of sexual and physical abuse, while 80 percent meet the criteria for a mental health diagnosis. Additionally, girls are twice as likely as boys to report five or more Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES), traumatic or stressful periods during childhood that may impair the brain’s ability to function (ACES, i.e emotional, physical or sexual abuse, emotional neglect, household substance abuse etc). ACES may cause children to mistrust adults, have difficulties learning and/or making friends; all of which make young people vulnerable, including over-representation in youth-serving systems such as child welfare, juvenile justice and/or mental health systems.

Raising the Age: A policy to cut costs and crime while keeping youth and communities safe

Tuesday, 07 March 2017 Posted in Research & Policy

By Arthur Rizer and Marc Schindler

A new report shows that over the past decade, half of the states that had previously excluded all 16- and/or 17-year-olds from juvenile court based solely on their age absorbed these young people into the youth justice system without significantly increasing taxpayer costs, and the number of youth in the adult system nationwide was nearly cut in half.

A Day of Empathy to Kick Off Juvenile Justice Month of Faith & Healing

Wednesday, 01 March 2017 Posted in Campaigns

By Jeree Thomas, Policy Director

March 1st is the National Day of Empathy.  It is a perfect start to the Juvenile Justice Month of Faith and Healing.  The National Day of Empathy, created by the non-profit Dream Corp, is a call to action for those impacted by the prison industrial complex and issues within in the criminal justice system to meet with legislators on why criminal justice reform is so important to America’s future. 

Honoring Trayvon Martin: Black Boys Deserve More

Friday, 24 February 2017 Posted in Voices

By Catie Armstrong, Juvenile Justice Fellow

Five years ago, on the evening of Feburary 26, 2012, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed. After visiting a local convenience store, Trayvon began walking home, armed only with the bag of Skittles and Arizona Iced Tea he had just purchased. A 28-year-old man, armed with a gun, shot and killed Trayvon that night.

South Carolina Advocates Urge Legislators to Improve its JJ System to Serve Youth and Implement Raise the Age

Thursday, 23 February 2017 Posted in Take Action Now

By Jeree Thomas, Policy Director

Advocates across South Carolina submitted a letter to the South Carolina House Legislative Oversight Committee today.  The letter was in response to a January 2017 report by the Legislative Audit Council that found the following about the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ):

- DJJ had two uninvestigated and unreported deaths of youth in their care;
-  A lack of sufficient training for juvenile correctional officers;
- Non-compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA);
- Incomplete and inaccurate data tracking on the progress of youth in the system;
- Lack of accountability and quality assurance of juvenile services at the county-level and in its wilderness camps.

The Power of Love

Monday, 13 February 2017 Posted in Campaigns

By Marcy Mistrett, CEO

As we celebrate Valentine’s Day this week, and as the Executive Director of a national organization that ends the prosecution of youth in adult court, I am urging us all to embrace ‘the Power of Love’.

Since its inception, the Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ), has insisted that impacted youth and families need to be equal partners at the reform table.  Why, You might ask?  First, because we know that those closest to the problem are best informed on ways to FIX the problem.  But beyond that, youth and family advocacy is critical because when drafting reforms, families always remind us of the potential of their child(ren) to learn from their mistakes and make amends, especially if they feel supported and loved.  It is this humanity that insists on urgency, resists compromise, and pushes for hope and possibility. Without families and youth at the table—reforms would not go nearly far enough.

New Guide Documents that Over Half of Girls in California’s Juvenile Justice Facilities Are LGBTQ or Gender Nonconforming

Monday, 13 February 2017 Posted in Voices

This blog was originally issued as a press release. 

Today, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and Impact Justice announced the release of a trailblazing publication entitled “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Questioning, and/or Gender Nonconforming and Transgender Girls and Boys in the California Juvenile Justice System: A Practice Guide.” The guide, written by Angela Irvine and Aisha Canfield at Impact Justice and Shannan Wilber at NCLR, provides California probation officials with the tools to protect the safety and well-being of LGBTQ and gender nonconforming (GNC) youth in their care and custody.

Mapping A Way Out Of The Adult Justice System

Friday, 03 February 2017

By Anne-Lise Vray, Communications Associate

In 2017, the Campaign for Youth Justice has chosen to draw a map throughout the year showing the way(s) out of the adult justice system. Each month, CFYJ will identify a new stop on the road that highlights a problem in prosecuting youth as adults and a way to remap an effective alternative.

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