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Voices

Remembering Kalief Browder: The State of Youth in Adult Jails and Prisons Two-Years After Kalief Browder’s Death

Monday, 05 June 2017 Posted in Voices

By Jeree Thomas, Policy Director

Today, June 6, 2017, marks the two-year anniversary of the devastating loss of Kalief Browder.   Kalief was a twenty-two year old whose traumatic and deeply unjust contact with the adult criminal justice system when he was only 16-years old changed the course of his life forever.   If you are unfamiliar with his story, you can learn more about him in the six-part documentary, Time: The Kalief Browder Story, which aired on Spike Television this year. The documentary details Kalief’s upbringing, what led to him being held for 3-years in an adult jail, Rikers Island, without being convicted of a crime, and how the haunting experience ultimately led to his suicide.

Mother's Day Series: Love Messages From Behind Bars

Monday, 08 May 2017 Posted in Voices

Mother’s Day is coming up on Sunday! Last week, we highlighted the voices of moms who had seen their children taken away by the adult criminal justice system. This week, to celebrate the very special place moms and caregivers hold in incarcerated youth’s lives, we asked them what message they wanted to send to their mothers. We collected them here. 

  •  To the moms/caregivers who are going through the difficult time of having a loved one in prison, know that there is not a day that goes by that you are not appreciated. Your support is uncanny which makes you so special and valuable to not only your loved ones but to the world. Know that you are loved and appreciated. - Kevin, James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Smyrna, Delaware

Mother's Day Series: Both of us in captivity in two different ways

Friday, 05 May 2017 Posted in Voices

To celebrate Mother's Day that is coming up on May 14, we will be highlighting throughout this week the voices of mothers of incarcerated youth, whose unconditional love and support is often the only ray of light for children behind bars. Next week, we will feature messages that youth in prison wanted to send their moms/caregivers for Mother's Day. 

By Vikki Stokes

We have risen above and will never give up, although hell came to greet us with its relentless hiccup.
But prayer without ceasing unleashes a power 
That can't be denied and miracles shower
Both of us in captivity in two different ways
My son, I am your mother and won't be ashamed
If you are behind cages or standing in front looking in
If telepathically only be first your son's friend

Mother's Day Series: Being Mum

Thursday, 04 May 2017 Posted in Voices

To celebrate Mother's Day that is coming up on May 14, we will be highlighting throughout this week the voices of mothers of incarcerated youth, whose unconditional love and support is often the only ray of light for children behind bars. Next week, we will feature messages that youth in prison wanted to send their moms/caregivers for Mother's Day. 

By Corrinne Broadbridge

The spelling is correct, I'm British and it's pronounced Mum and not Mom. I am Mum. 

My son Chris was just 14 at the time. The crime was murder but not at my son's hand but at the hands of the homeowner who shot one of my son's friend dead. 

Mother's Day Series: Mad, Overwhelmed, Trying, Helpless, Emotional, Resilient

Wednesday, 03 May 2017 Posted in Voices

To celebrate Mother's Day that is coming up on May 14, we will be highlighting throughout this week the voices of mothers of incarcerated youth, whose unconditional love and support is often the only ray of light for children behind bars. Next week, we will feature messages that youth in prison wanted to send their moms/caregivers for Mother's Day. 

By Michelle Hannemann

Being a mother of a convicted felon and registered sex offender has changed my life. Although I feel more than fortunate that our son is alive, healthy and now home with us, there is a sense of loss from the years that were taken from us.

Mother's Day Series: The Story of Veronica

Tuesday, 02 May 2017 Posted in Voices

To celebrate Mother's Day that is coming up on May 14, we will be highlighting throughout this week the voices of mothers of incarcerated youth, whose unconditional love and support is often the only ray of light for children behind bars. Next week, we will feature messages that youth in prison wanted to send their moms/caregivers for Mother's Day. 

By Veronica Williams

It was early evening January 21st, 2014, when we received the call that our son was arrested for an offense that he committed at the age of 14. The offense was something unbeknownst to his father and I, until it was brought to our attention the year before 2013, when he was accused by a family member.  We thought how could something that happened when he was a child be put against him as an adult and no prior record of anything. Our son was in college working on a degree for sports medicine, working two jobs.  No mother or father wants to ever get that one call that their child is either raped, murdered or arrested. 

Mother's Day Series: "I Am A Mother And…As For Me And My House….Tomorrow Has Not Come."

Monday, 01 May 2017 Posted in Voices

To celebrate Mother's Day that is coming up on May 14, we will be highlighting throughout this week the voices of mothers of incarcerated youth, whose unconditional love and support is often the only ray of light for children behind bars. Next week, we will feature messages that youth in prison wanted to send their moms/caregivers for Mother's Day. 

By Heidi Nuttall

It was a warm day In late September 2011. I stood in the judge's chambers and sobbing, I watched as my precious 14 year old son was led away, 570 miles away. Sentenced as an adult for 40 years? How many MEN have had that dooming sentence? Being the mother of a very young person, charged, sentenced and condemned to a life of looking behind his back, always in fear, never feeling secure unless he’s locked behind solid cement. How does it feel? Today, it feels hopeless… There’s really no other word, just hopeless. In the beginning, we lived in a glass house, in a small town of 900 where everyone knows everybody, fear reigned supreme! In the public eye, my son was a hardened criminal. When he came home after 4 months in Juvenile Detention, before his sentencing, mothers circulated petitions, for fear he would snatch their children.

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.

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.

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