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New York and North Carolina Are The Last States To Raise The Age of which Children can be Funneled Through their Adult Jails and Prisons

Friday, 21 July 2017 Posted in Campaigns

By Marcy Mistrett, CEO

2017 marks a historical milestone in the United States’ juvenile justice system.    After decades of advocacy, New York and North Carolina both passed legislation to raise their age of juvenile court jurisdiction to 18.  When both laws are fully implemented in 2019, it will be the first time in US history since the creation of the juvenile court that no state will automatically treat 16 year olds as adults solely because of their age.  While a vast majority of states treat individuals under 18 as youth and therefore start them in juvenile court, this age has never been uniformly agreed upon.

Parenting Without A Voice

Thursday, 20 July 2017 Posted in Voices

By Michelle Hannemann

When children are charged as adults; their parents aren’t notified of their arrest, or that the police are interrogating them in connection with a crime.  Michelle found it out the hard way, when her 16 year old high school junior was arrested and charged with a felony as an adult.  Based heavily on the statement he provided to the police (without any legal representation), he was waived to adult court and sentenced to 5 years in prison. Michelle’s son was then released on an electronic bracelet, and resentenced in 2016 after appealing his first sentence.. Through this hardship, Michelle has learned a lot about the justice system, and how harmful it is for children to be treated as adults.

In honor of Parents' Day, Michelle tells the story of how hard it is to be a parent when you no longer have a voice. 

Voices Elevate to Advance Juvenile Justice Reform

Wednesday, 05 July 2017 Posted in Federal Update

By Marcy Mistrett, CEO, and Abby McNeal, Juvenile Justice Fellow


Juvenile justice is perhaps one of the only political issues that continues to see strong bipartisan support from Congress. This trend was continued once again last month at the House Judiciary Sub Committee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations held a hearing on juvenile justice reform in the modern era. This hearing comes weeks after the House passed the reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA). Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) worked with her Republican Sub-Committee members to organize a hearing that prioritized juvenile justice as a critical component to criminal justice reform overall; focusing on successful alternatives to incarceration and the work that still needs to be accomplished around the treatment of youth who remain confined.

“Unalienable Rights”

Friday, 30 June 2017 Posted in Across the Country

By Brian Evans, State Campaign Director

This July 4, we celebrate the 241st anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. This Declaration did more than just begin the process of extricating 13 colonies from British rule. It asserted that “all men” had “unalienable Rights” to “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”, establishing extremely lofty aspirations for the emerging United States of America.

These aspirations have not been met.

The Importance of Protecting LGBTQ Youth in the Juvenile Justice System

Wednesday, 28 June 2017 Posted in Research & Policy

By Eunice Revis, Juvenile Justice Fellow

Discrimination, homelessness, and family rejection lead LGBTQ youth to the juvenile justice system - where they are exposed to unjust abuse and treatment. An alarming data report released today by the Movement Advancement Project, Center for American Progress, and Youth First presented the large number of LGBTQ youth in the juvenile justice system, and the harsh reality of being a LGBTQ youth in our nation’s juvenile detention and correctional facilities. Despite the extremely high rates of LGBTQ youth entering the juvenile justice system, the United States’ education system, law enforcement, and juvenile defenders, are not capable of managing the common challenges these children may face. As a result, the juvenile justice system does more harm to LGBTQ youth by criminalizing them. It is vital that LGBTQ youth in the juvenile justice system be protected, and that we target the discriminatory practices that are a result of the disproportionate imprisonment of LGBTQ youth.

North Carolina Raises the Age!

Tuesday, 27 June 2017 Posted in Campaigns

By Jeree Thomas, Policy Director

The Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ) is thrilled that after nearly 100 years of treating 16 and 17-year olds as adults, the North Carolina legislature has passed a budget bill that includes raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to 18 in North Carolina.   Although Governor Cooper vetoed the budget bill due to other policy concerns, the bill has enough support in the legislature to override the Governor’s veto.

Meet Our 2017 Summer Interns

Monday, 26 June 2017 Posted in CFYJ Updates

The summer has officially begun, and the Campaign for Youth Justice couldn’t be more excited to introduce its interns! 

How the House’s American Health Care Act bill Threatens Youth Justice Reform

Thursday, 22 June 2017 Posted in Federal Update

By Marcy Mistrett, CEO

While the Senate will debate their healthcare bill early next week, concerns have already risen with the incredibly cruel health care reform bill narrowly passed by the House of Representatives earlier this month, along solid party lines.  The depth of the damage isn’t yet known, as the House voted on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) without hearings, without a CBO score, amidst threats from the Administration….but early estimates predict that as many as 24 million people are going to lose their healthcare benefits (more than half of whom are on Medicaid).      

Brady’s Story: How a “Child in Need of Supervision” Dies in Juvenile Detention

Tuesday, 20 June 2017 Posted in Voices

Why the U.S. Senate Needs to Reauthorize the Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Act

By Jeree Thomas, Esq. and Dawn Folkens, mother of Brady Alan Folkens

“Today I woke up feeling like complete [crap]. It has only gotten worse so far. I anticipate feeling bad tomorrow as well. But hopefully I’ll be better by Saturday when my mom comes to visit.” – Brady Folkens, December 19th- Brady’s final journal entry.

A Commitment Worthy of Pride: End the Criminalization of LGBTQ Youth

Monday, 19 June 2017 Posted in Voices

By Shannan Wilber

Pride Month is an opportunity to commemorate the history of the LGBTQ civil rights movement and celebrate the milestones of social and political progress. It is also an opportunity to acknowledge LGBTQ people who have not benefited from these gains, and commit to ending their oppression.

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