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Across the Country

How You Can ACT to End Racism

Kathryn M Allen, CFYJ Communications Fellow Thursday, 30 July 2020 Posted in 2020, Across the Country

Written by Kathryn Allen, CFYJ Communications Fellow

Racism is not a new phenomenon. The very founding of the United States happened on the backs of enslaved Africans, brought to this stolen-land to build the wealth of white land-owners. From slavery to the Jim Crow Era, to Mass Incarceration and police brutality, Black people in the United States have always been treated as less-than.  Latinx folks, Native Americans, and other People of Color have their own traumatic histories of being othered, killed, and robbed of their identities. This oppression stretches into the present in new and troubling ways, with Black folks facing disproportionate boundaries to career advancement and wealth-building tools, and disproportionate negative health outcomes. In the Juvenile Justice world, we see Black and Brown children more often sentenced to time in detention, and transferred to adult courts than any other racial group. 

Juneteenth 2020: A Day On To Address Systemic Racism

Aprill O. Turner, CFYJ Vice President of Communications Friday, 19 June 2020 Posted in 2020, Across the Country

A Day to Reflect on the Resilience of Black Americans in the Face of Ongoing Systemic Racism In Our Criminal Justice System

A Day to Reflect on the Resilience of Black Americans in the Face of Ongoing Systemic Racism In Our Criminal Justice System

Written by Aprill O. Turner, CFYJ Vice President of Communications

Today is the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, which commemorates the effective end of slavery in the U.S. In 1865, nearly two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, federal troops arrived in Texas and told enslaved people that they were finally actually free.

Help CFYJ Support State Reforms This Father's Day

Marcy Mistrett, CFYJ CEO Thursday, 18 June 2020 Posted in 2020, Across the Country

Written by Marcy Mistrett, CFYJ CEO

This weekend is Father's Day and the Campaign for Youth Justice celebrates and recognizes the amazing dads, grandfathers, and other men who have served as role models and mentors to so many children.

While some exchange gifts, watch baseball, or enjoy a special dinner with their fathers, others are not as fortunate to spend the special day with loved ones. CFYJ recognizes all of the children who are incarcerated as adults who won’t be able to spend time with their fathers this year. 

Every Child Deserves a Family

Marcy Mistrett, CFYJ CEO Friday, 29 May 2020 Posted in 2020, Across the Country

May is Foster Care Awareness Month, a time to recognize that we can each play a part in supporting the lives of the 437,000 children and youth in foster care each year, 57,000 of whom are placed in congregate care.  In the youth justice system, 42,000 children sleep in out of home placements (youth detention centers, prisons, and adult facilities) every night.  In both systems, the vast majority of these youth could be served in less restrictive settings—that cost less, and yield much better outcomes.

2019 State Legislation Review: Fewer Children in the Adult System

Brian Evans Friday, 20 December 2019 Posted in 2019, Across the Country, Campaigns

By Brian Evans, CFYJ State Campaigns Director

This year, the real-life story of five children wrongfully arrested and convicted in New York, dramatized in the Netflix series “When They See Us”, reminded us why protecting children from the criminal justice system is so important. The film was timely, reflecting and amplifying a point of view that has been increasingly, though not universally, adopted across ideological, geographical, and party lines. In 2019, states continued to push and pass positive legislation keeping children out of the adult criminal justice system.

Youth Justice Leaders Must Speak Out on the Border Crisis

By Rachel Marshall , CFYJ Federal Policy Counsel Thursday, 22 August 2019 Posted in Across the Country

By Rachel Marshall , CFYJ Federal Policy Counsel

As an organization that works to end the prosecution, sentencing, and incarceration of youth in the adult criminal justice system, every day my colleagues and I work to educate the public and policymakers on the horrors of subjecting our nation’s young people to the adult criminal justice system. Research shows that the placement of youth in adult facilities are at a higher risk of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. But even if youth remain in the juvenile justice system and are incarcerated in juvenile facilities, they are still at risk for abuse and irreversible trauma. Thanks to excellent investigative reporting, we know that incarcerated youth are too often subjected to horrific abuse at the hands of facility staff.

The New Netflix Limited Series "When They See Us" Provides an Inside Look at the Power of Prosecutors and Media in Youth Incarceration Cases

By Aprill O. Turner CFYJ Communications Director Thursday, 30 May 2019 Posted in Across the Country

By Aprill O. Turner, CFYJ Communications Director

NOTE: CFYJ Communications Director, Aprill Turner appeared on WHUR.FM (Washington, DC) with cast member of "When They See Us", Asante Blackk. Check out the full interview here--What You Will Learn From the Documentary of Central Park 5.


Today Netflix releases the highly anticipated limited series, Ava DuVernay's "When They See Us". The series chronicles the story of the tragic Central Park Five case about five teenage boys of color from Harlem who were wrongly convicted of the rape of a white woman which they didn't commit in 1989, and the 25-year fight for justice following their conviction.

The Campaign for Youth Justice had the opportunity to participate in an advanced screening of the film last month in New York, along with other social and criminal justice advocacy organizations.

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month

By Cherice Hopkins, Staff Attorney, Rights4Girls Thursday, 24 January 2019 Posted in 2019, Across the Country

The JJDPA is an Important Victory in the Continuing Efforts to End the Criminalization of Child Sex Trafficking Survivors

By Cherice Hopkins, Staff Attorney, Rights4Girls

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month and anti-sex trafficking advocates and juvenile justice advocates have mutual cause to celebrate—the reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) after 16 years. Before the Act was signed into law last December, it had not been updated since 2002. During that span of time, much knowledge was gained about youth development and best practices for youth safety and treatment. Likewise, the past decade and a half has seen an increase in the understanding of the prevalence and harms of domestic child sex trafficking, including a growing awareness of the need to end our nation’s carceral response to these young survivors of violence. The updated JJDPA plays a critical role in ensuring that this important knowledge is incorporated into our juvenile justice policies and practices, including those that impact trafficking survivors.

The Senate Can Decide: Are Children a Part of Thanksgiving?

By Sarah Bryer and Marcy Mistrett Tuesday, 20 November 2018 Posted in 2018, Across the Country, CFYJ Updates

This week as families gather to break bread, give thanks, and count their blessings—there are 45,000 children locked in secure facilities across this country who will be absent from their families’ tables. 4000 of them will be in adult jails; at least one as young as the tender age of ten.

The Results Are In: Did The Country #VoteYouthJustice?

By Rachel Marshall, CFYJ Federal Policy Counsel Monday, 12 November 2018 Posted in 2018, Across the Country

By Rachel Marshall, CFYJ Federal Policy Counsel

The 2018 midterm elections have come to an end, and, while the outcomes of some races remain unknown, it is safe to say that the outcome for young people across the country was overwhelmingly positive. While most of the country was glued to the results in competitive U.S. House and Senate races, it was the state and local elections that that will make a huge difference in the lives of young people.

Starting with the top state executive, twenty states will welcome new governors in 2019. One of those new governors includes Tony Evers in Wisconsin. Governor-Elect Evers will be tasked with overseeing the closure of two juvenile prisons. Early in 2018, current Governor Scott Walker announced a plan to overhaul Wisconsin’s juvenile corrections and treatment system, and in March, state lawmakers passed a bill that requires that two juvenile facilities, Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls, to close by January 2021. Both facilities have been subject to investigations and lawsuits over allegations of excessive use of force, abuse, and neglect. Governor-Elect Evers campaigned on criminal justice reform, and his Lieutenant Governor-Elect, Mandela Barnes, showed a strong commitment to juvenile justice reform during his time in the Wisconsin General Assembly. While it is not often the case that a new governor will see through the projects of the past administration, this shift is likely to greatly benefit youth in the justice system (and hopefully pave the way for Wisconsin to FINALLY join 46 other states in raising the age of criminal responsibility to 18).

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