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ROOTS Weekend Richmond: “Creating a World Without Prisons”

Monday, 24 April 2017 Posted in Voices

By Jeree Thomas, Policy Director

The Campaign for Youth Justice had the pleasure of participating in ROOTS Weekend Richmond from April 20th-23rd in Richmond, Virginia. The gathering was a part of Alternate ROOTS weekend series that brings together artists, activists, and community members around themes involving social and economic justice.

Thoughts from LEAD 2017: ‘Persistent Fleas’ Fight for Youth Justice

Wednesday, 12 April 2017 Posted in Voices

By Catie Armstrong, Juvenile Justice Fellow

The fifth annual McCourt School of Public Policy’s LEAD (Leadership, Evidence, Analysis, Debate) Conference “Moving from Research to Policy and Practice to Improve the Lives of Youth” took place on campus at Georgetown University on April 6 and 7.

New York Passes Raise the Age!

Monday, 10 April 2017 Posted in CFYJ Updates

By Brian Evans, State Campaign Director

Over the weekend, the New York State Assembly and Senate passed legislation to Raise the Age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18.  This is a huge change that will affect thousands of young people who will enjoy the developmental and educational benefits of the juvenile justice system and avoid exposure to the permanent harms of the adult system and the scarlet letter of an adult criminal record.  This effort was a heavy lift that took the tireless work of hundreds of advocates, legislators, and executive staff. 

Showing Support For Our Most Vulnerable Youth During National Youth Violence Prevention Week

Thursday, 06 April 2017 Posted in Across the Country

By Catherine Armstrong, Juvenile Justice Fellow

April 3-7 is National Youth Violence Prevention Week. This important week of advocacy is led by Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE), a founding partner of the National Youth Violence Prevention Week Campaign. This year, the campaign is specifically focusing on the role we can all play in promoting safer communities that will help ensure fewer youth become engaged in violent behavior.

Remembering Youth in Adult Jails & Prisons during Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Thursday, 30 March 2017 Posted in Across the Country

By William Tipton, CFYJ Policy & Research Fellow and Terri Poore, MSW, Policy Director at the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This month, the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV) and the Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ) are partnering to highlight those vulnerable youth living in adult jails and prisons across the country as well as those laws and policies that can protect and support incarcerated youth if properly implemented.

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. 

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