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Spread the Word- CFYJ is looking for Summer 2013 Fellows!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013 Posted in Take Action Now

The Campaign for Youth Justice  is accepting applications for its fellowship program. We accept part-time and full-time interns during the fall and spring semesters (preferring students who can commit to an entire academic year), and full-time interns during the summer (at least an 8 week commitment).


The Summer 2013 Fellowship Application deadline is March 31, 2013.  The following fellowship opportunities are currently available for Summer 2013:


Summer 2013 Fellow in Field and Outreach
Summer 2013 Fellow in National Outreach
Summer 2013 Fellow in Research and Policy
Summer 2013 Fellow in Communications


For additional information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Connecticut and Illinois Release Pivotal Juvenile Justice Reports

Wednesday, 27 February 2013 Posted in Research & Policy

This week the Justice Policy Institute released a report entitled, “Juvenile Justice Reform in Connecticut: How Collaboration and Commitment Improved Outcomes for Youth,” and the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission released its report entitled, “Raising the Age of Juvenile Court Jurisdiction: The future of 17-year-olds in Illinois’ justice system.” Conclusions from both reports support the notion that raising the age is consistent with legal trends, is consistent with adolescent development and behavior; is an efficient use of juvenile court resources; improves public safety; and decreases long-term costs.

The positive effects of these reforms have far exceeded expectations thereby debunking the myth that placing more 16 and 17 year olds in the juvenile justice system will “crash it” and sacrifice public safety. The impact of reforms in Connecticut and Illinois prove that thoughtful analysis and long term planning can create positive legislative reforms in systems deemed too dysfunctional for repair.

Highlights from each report are as follows:

Connecticut

  • Extending juvenile jurisdiction to 16 year-olds has increased juvenile caseloads far less than expected (22 percent actual vs. 40 percent projected), reducing the state’s expenditures to serve these youth by nearly $12 million below the amount initially budgeted for the 2010 and 2011 fiscal years.
  • Raise the Age legislation enabled 8,325 16 year-olds to avoid prosecution and punishment in the adult criminal justice system.
  • 16 year-olds served by the juvenile system have had higher success rates in alternative programs and lower rearrest rates than youth 15 and younger, disproving concerns that they should be in the adult system.

Illinois

  • Although it was predicted that adding roughly 18,000 misdemeanor arrests of 17 year olds would overwhelm the system by a 38 percent increase at the arrest stage, arrests are actually down 24 percent in the state.
  • County juvenile detention centers and state juvenile incarceration facilities were not overrun. In fact, one detention center and two state incarceration facilities have been closed and excess capacity is still the state norm.
  • Due to the success of adding 17 year old misdemeanants, adding 17 year olds convicted of felonies is predicted to be manageable.

Connecticut and Illinois are just two examples of state reforms that are happening throughout the nation. States all over the country are considering reforms, including Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Maryland.

With a new Administrator for the federal Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) about to take the helm, there is a major opportunity to accelerate the pace of reforms throughout the country with federal support.

Find links to the reports below:

Jonathan’s Law Unanimously Clears Legislative Hurdle in Missouri

Tuesday, 26 February 2013 Posted in Campaigns

Yesterday the Missouri State Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed, “Jonathan’s Law”, a bill requiring judges to consider giving minors who have been convicted as adults, a juvenile sentence, and requiring an explanation why if they do not.

Jonathan's Law is in remembrance of Jonathan McClard, who committed suicide in an adult facility at the age of 17--fearing he would be sentenced to a long prison term with adults.

Jonathan's mother, Tracy McClard is the founder of Families and Friends Organized to Reform JuvenileJustice (FORJ-MO). McClard has been a champion for the legislation and says its passage could prevent future tragedies like what happened to her son.

“I am very excited by the support for juvenile justice reform we are receiving from Missouri's state capitol,” said McClard. “The fact that Jonathan's Law passed the senate judiciary committee with a unanimous vote speaks to the great desire to bring our children out of the adult system and once again treat our youth as children and not adults.”

Maryland Lawmakers Hear Expert Testimony from Youth, Parents, Advocates on Juvenile Justice Reforms

Friday, 22 February 2013 Posted in Federal Update

Members of the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee held hearings in Annapolis this week on juvenile justice reform measures including proposals to remove youth from adult jails and end the automatic prosecution of youth in adult criminal court. Kara Aanenson and Kevin Junior of Community Law in Action (CLIA), and Camilla Roberson of the Public Justice Center (PJC) shared testimony in support of these proposals, along with youth, families, legal experts, community members, and advocates in a packed hearing room.

"This is a failed policy," stated Camilla Roberson in her testimony on legislation to end the automatic prosecution of youth in the adult criminal court. Community member, Eileen Siple of Harford County, Maryland also testified in support of the proposal stating that, "Children should not end up in the adult system until after a judge has decided, based on all the available information, that there is nothing the juvenile system can do for that child."

A young person who'd been court involved, Kevin, shared his experiences in the Baltimore Jail. Kevin, now a youth organizer at CLIA, spent 11 months in the jail awaiting trial and then was transferred back to the juvenile court. He spoke about the differences between the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems and the need to provide opportunities, education and rehabilitation for young people.

While several attorneys and the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services testified against these bills, the bills received overwhelming support from youth and their families, community members, legal experts and advocates. Stacey Gurian-Sherman shared her testimony on these bills along with with hundreds of individuals who'd signed on to support the legislation in a strong show of support.

The next round of hearings on juvenile justice proposals are expected on March 7 in the Maryland House of Delegates.

To get involved in juvenile justice advocacy efforts in Maryland, contact the Just Kids Partnership.

IJJO Interviews- Liz Ryan, CFYJ President & CEO

Wednesday, 20 February 2013 Posted in Voices

The International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO) interviews CFYJ President and CEO, Liz Ryan:

Ms. Ryan provides us an analysis of the situation of children rights in the USA together with a description of the main activities and objectives of the Campaign for Youth Justice. In this framework, Liz Ryan underlines that The U.S. should ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other human rights treaties, as well as, she advocates recommendations to federal, state and local policymakers, such as the development of strategies to stop the flow of youth into the adult criminal system.

Reflections on the Youth Jail Victory - Just Kids Youth Leaders

Tuesday, 19 February 2013 Posted in Voices

The Just Kids Youth Leaders were at the core of the campaign to stop the youth jail in Baltimore City. The victory was made possible by the youth led alliance to create grassroots support, form a legislative strategy, and launch a media campaign against the proposed jail.

In this video, the Just Kids Youth Leaders discuss what they learned from all their hard work to successfully advocate against the construction of the youth jail.

CFYJ Welcomes Two New Employees!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013 Posted in Across the Country

The Campaign for Youth Justice is excited to welcome two new senior staff members who have recently joined us this January. Aprill O. Turner, originally from Clearwater, Florida, will be the new Communications Director while Carmen Daugherty, native of Louisville Kentucky, will be the new Policy Director.

Our new Communications Director, Aprill is a Public Relations professional with more than twelve years of experience working with non-profit and corporate clients, as well as elected officials. Prior to coming to the Campaign for Youth Justice, Aprill has been a Communications Consultant for the National Association of Black Journalists, Senior Account Executive at CooperKatz Public Relations in New York City, as well as planned and conducted media outreach initiatives for New York Lawyers for the Public Interest and the National Campaign to Restore Civil Rights. In addition, Aprill has worked on Capitol Hill in several media capacities as well as leading media strategy for several local, Congressional and Senatorial campaigns. Aprill obtained her Bachelor's degree in Legal Communications from Howard University and a Master's degree in Political Communication and Fundraising from The George Washington University. Currently, she serves on the Board of Directors for the Washington Association of Black Journalists.

As the new Communications Director, Aprill wishes to increase the exposure of the Campaign for Youth Justice in the organization’s target states as well as at the federal level. She was drawn to the Campaign by their clear focus on juvenile justice issues and wishes to spread that message further and wider.

Prior to joining the Campaign, Carmen, our new Policy Director, served as Deputy Director and staff attorney for Advocates for Justice and Education, a DC based non-profit, formed to educate parents, youth, and the community about the laws governing public education, specifically for children with special needs. In 2008, Carmen was appointed to the D.C. Mayor's Juvenile Justice Advisory Group where she works with city stakeholders to provide recommendations on district compliance with the Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Act. She also co-chairs the American Bar Association section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, Public Education Committee which seeks to protect and advance the right of equal access and opportunity to public education for all people. Carmen received her undergraduate degree from Vassar College and her Juris Doctor from Tulane University School of Law.

As the Campaign’s Policy Director, Carmen assists both state based organizations and national partners in developing policy goals related to criminal justice reform. Carmen aspires to keep state level policy makers well informed about the policy options available to ensure that the long term outcome of legislation is beneficial rather than detrimental to the youth.

Both Aprill and Carmen are excited to be joining the Campaign’s efforts to raising awareness about youth incarceration in the adult criminal justice system!

Forget-Me-Not This Valentine's Day

Thursday, 07 February 2013 Posted in Take Action Now

The Forget-Me-Not flower has been a symbol of remembrance for over 100 years. They are a widespread, yet often undervalued flower. Like many youth, they can “grow in a slightly disorderly fashion”, but need simple care and guidance to grow into a striking landscape.


This Valentine’s Day, show your support for our young people by making a donation to the Campaign for Youth Justice’s prisoner correspondence project. This small gesture may be the only contact they have with the outside world on this day intended for families and loved ones.

This project works to ensure that no child is forgotten this Valentine’s Day. Over 10,000 kids will spend this Valentine’s Day in an adult jail or prison, often in solitary confinement where they cannot communicate with others, let alone their loved ones.

Your donation will go directly towards supporting our correspondence with incarcerated youth.

Here is what your donation will provide:

  • $25 – provides stamps for Valentine’s Day cards for 50 incarcerated youth
  • $50 – provides stamps, cards, and envelopes for Valentine’s Day cards for 50 incarcerated youth
  • $100 – provides stamps, cards, and envelopes for Valentine’s Day cards for 50 incarcerated youth and stamps, cards and envelopes for each of them to send cards in return

This Valentine’s Day, please help us make sure that every child is in our hearts. Make sure that every child knows that he or she is not forgotten.

Social Justice Advocates Meet With Child Rights International Network’s Veronica Yates

Thursday, 07 February 2013 Posted in Research & Policy

On the afternoon of January 29th, youth and social justice advocates were fortunate enough to meet with Child Rights International Network’s (CRIN) director Veronica Yates in an informative discussion about the issues of juvenile justice, campaigning, and advocacy around the world. CRIN is an international network that supports children’s rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Yates pointed out that children face human rights violations throughout the world, but because of their social and political status, the can rarely speak up against these injustices. CRIN advocates for a genuine system shift in how governments and societies view children. Interestingly, the United States and Somalia are the only member-countries that have not ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child - a fact that, Yates emphasized, is one of the most frequently asked about issues emailed to CRIN. While the reason for this is unknown, it would seem that the fact that the United States continues to try children in the adult criminal justice system and place children in solitary confinement (a practice the UN has categorized as torture) would be a contributing factor.

Currently, they have a campaign on children and violent sentencing to address injustices against children in the justice system. It focuses on issues from the UN Human Rights Standards, including juvenile life in prison sentences, the use of corporal punishment on children, and monitoring government responses to children's rights issues.

 
As part of its advocacy effort, CRIN created a Wiki of Children’s Rights, which monitors children’s rights country-by-country while also identifying persistent violations. Their resources are translated into different languages, including English, Spanish, French, Russian, and Chinese, to reach critical decision-makers and advocates throughout the world. 
 
In addition, CRIN advocates for more transparency within the UN’s appointment process of positions related to children’s rights, specifically the appointment process for the Executive Director of UNICEF
 
To read more about CRIN's work, visit the CRIN website
 
 
 
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