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Across the Country

March is Juvenile Justice Month of Faith and Healing

Kay Xiao Monday, 09 March 2015 Posted in 2015, Across the Country

March marks the annual Juvenile Justice Month of Faith and Healing. This month brings together congregations of all faiths, schools and universities in prayer, service and action. The goal is to offer young offenders hope and alternatives to a lifetime as a hardened criminal by raising awareness and creating engagement with issues pertaining to juvenile justice.

How to Get Involved:

  • Place a bulletin in your faith organization’s newsletter.
  • Throughout the month of March discuss juvenile justice in your weekly faith service.
  • Post a flyer in your place of worship.
  • Host a candle light vigil in your faith community in remembrance of youth in the justice system.
  • Host a discussion after a faith service in your community about juvenile justice issues. Such topics could be sentencing laws, sending children into the adult court system, willful defiance or the classification process in the prison system that sends youthful offenders to higher level prisons than adults for the same crime.
  • Support neighborhood groups that work to create cooperative relationships between neighbors, faith communities, and law enforcement to create a safe and secure community.
  • Support or volunteer with programs that promote victim ministry in your place of worship.
  • Support or volunteer with the ministry at your local detention center.
  • Provide spiritual, material, or emotional assistance to those reentering society, both youth and adult. Schools and places of worship are encouraged to invite formerly incarcerated youth to share their experiences and insights about the juvenile justice system.

For more information or to schedule a speaker please contact Javier Stauring at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Girls in Justice: A Thought-Provoking Glimpse of Girls in the System

Kay Xiao Monday, 02 February 2015 Posted in 2015, Across the Country

“I have interviewed and photographed children in confinement for the better part of a decade. As I sit on the floor of a cell and listen, each story, each child tells is enlightening, but the stories of the girls stir a special compassion.”

This is how Richard Ross, Professor of art at the University of California - Santa Barbara prefaces his newest book Girls in Justice.

With powerful images and first-hand accounts from over 250 detention facilities across the nation, Girls in Justice captures life behind bars and the physical, emotional and mental effects on young women in the criminal justice system. The evocative imagery alludes to the causes of trauma – sexual abuse, drug usage and forced prostitution to name a few – that many young girls in prisons face long before coming into contact with the system, and shocks the reader into questioning the criminal justice system today and its failure to address the underlying causes of delinquent behavior in girls.

The book highlights a harsh reality: girls in custody report nearly two times the rate of past physical abuse, two times the rate of past suicide attempts, and four times the rate of prior sex abuse as boys. In the process, it forces the reader to ask him or herself “what message is the criminal justice system sending to young girls today? Is it helping or further exacerbating the problem?” Ross seems to think the latter. “These girls in detention and commitment facilities are further abused by an organized system that can’t recognize or respond to their history and their needs,” Ross writes.

Girls in Justice is out this month. To order and for more information, visit here.

NEW WEBINAR SERIES: Connecting Partners. Spreading Knowledge.

Jessica Sandoval Friday, 30 January 2015 Posted in 2015, Across the Country

Looking for insight on a hot or timely topic? Curious about what others are doing in their state? Join Us!

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The Campaign for Youth Justice is launching its new 2015 webinar series, “Peer Learning Community Webinar Series”.  The goal of these forums is to offer technical assistance to our state, strategic and at-large partners to provide answers to the most asked, and the most difficult questions to answer.  We then offer “office hours” for one-on-one follow-up calls for a week after each webinar for state specific follow-up questions, developing strategy and networking.

This monthly webinar series is free and offers attendees the opportunity to hear from experts about best practices, tips on successful strategies and pitfalls to reform efforts.  We seek out state and local experts from their respective fields to enhance our knowledge in the youth justice field and strengthen our connections to each other.   

Educational Benefits:

  • Each webinar is 45-minutes, which  includes 30 minutes of content and a 15 minute window to ask your most burning and difficult questions and connect with the experts; access that may not otherwise be available;
  • Offers practical education in a time-saving format, with options to participate in real time or review later;
  • CFYJ will offer “office hours” for one-on-one technical assistance for a week after each webinar;
  • Topics focus on relevant and timely topics that mirror legislative sessions.

Here’s a sneak preview to other upcoming topics:

  • Engaging Unlikely Allies
  • Using Social Media to Get Your Message Out
  • Documenting Your Wins
  • Polling and Messaging for Your Issue

If you’re interested in signing up for our upcoming webinars, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to be added to the invitation list.  If you have any other questions, contact Jessica Sandoval at 202-558-3580 ext 1605 or at the email listed above.

New FRONTLINE Digital Exclusive Film, Stickup Kid

Aprill O. Turner Friday, 19 December 2014 Posted in 2014, Across the Country

Stickup Kid, a 30-minute FRONTLINE digital exclusive film, tells the story of Alonza Thomas — who, at age 16, was sent to adult prison after being charged with armed robbery shortly after California enacted a new tough-on-juvenile-crime law.

One of the first minors tried under Prop. 21 in California — and how spending over a decade behind bars in adult prison impacted him. It's a provocative look at a major social issue for which there are no easy answers  — and it gives new insight into the ongoing debate over juvenile sentencing Alonza went on to spend more than a decade behind bars.

The documentary is a provocative look at a major social issue for which there are no easy answers — and it gives new insight into the ongoing debate over prison reform in America.

It was produced in association with the Investigative Reporting Program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

WHERE TO WATCH:

You can watch Stickup Kid, here.

You can also watch on PBS's Youtube channel, here.

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter using #StickupKid.

YJAM 2014: Advocates Making Waves in Youth Justice Reforms

Sunday, 19 October 2014 Posted in 2014, Across the Country, Campaigns, Voices

As we reflect on this year and in commemoration of Youth Justice Awareness Month (YJAM), we have seen the pursuit of many youth justice reforms across the country. Efforts to improve the lives of our youth come in many forms - whether it's pursuits to improve laws, efforts to change the hearts and minds of the public, or working to empower youth and their families - the Campaign for Youth Justice applauds the daily efforts of advocates who take a stand for youth. Today, we highlight what many say can't be done: change for the better. Our youth, our communities, and our nation have all felt the positive impact of your efforts. Thank you for all that you do.

Youth Justice Awareness Month Kicks Off in 1 Week!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014 Posted in 2014, Across the Country, Take Action Now, Voices

The time is almost here - Youth Justice Awareness Month (YJAM) kicks off in just one week! We are very excited about the growing list of organizations joining us this year - Over 20 organizations in nearly 20 states are helping to make YJAM a reality. Events planned range from poetry slams, film screenings, community forums, and more. We estimate that over 3,000 people will attend YJAM events all over the country this year.

JJDPA Matters: 40 for 40 Launched!

Thursday, 18 September 2014 Posted in 2014, Across the Country

September 2014 marks the 40th anniversary of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA), the nation's main law governing state juvenile justice systems. Forty years ago, the JJDPA changed the face of youth justice—setting basic standards for state systems and establishing four core protections for young people in the system.

The JJDPA allows states to fund innovations and reforms that keep more kids out of jails and detention facilities and connected to safe, proven supports in their communities. Many states have used the JJDPA to modernize and improve their programs in ways that give kids the supports they need to get their lives back on track while at the same time helping make communities safer.

The JJDPA (Still) Matters: Celebrating 40 Years of Reform

Jill Ward Monday, 08 September 2014 Posted in 2014, Across the Country

This post is part of the JJDPA Matters blog, a project of the Act4JJ Campaign with help from SparkAction. The JJDPA, the nation's landmark juvenile justice law, turns 40 this month. Each month leading up to this anniversary, Act4JJ member organizations and allies have posted blogs on issues related to the JJDPA. To learn more and take action in support of JJDPA, visit the Act4JJ JJDPA Matters Action Center, powered by SparkAction.

On Sept. 7, 2014, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 (JJDPA)—the nation’s main law governing state juvenile justice programs—turned 40. This week, advocates from across the country will be taking time to reflect on the importance of this landmark federal law and how it can be made even stronger.

Youth Justice Awareness Month Support Tools - Plan Your Event Today!

Thursday, 28 August 2014 Posted in 2014, Across the Country, Take Action Now, Voices

As Youth Justice Awareness Month (YJAM) quickly approaches, the Campaign for Youth Justice wants to assist you in putting on your event - starting now! Along with the toolkits and templates available on our YJAM page, the CFYJ team has developed a set of tutorials on what it takes to host a successful YJAM event. Tips ranging from hosting any size event, FUNdraising, and even how to plan a 5K Race!

"Raise the Age" Victory in New Hampshire: More Kids Treated as Kids

John DeJoie Thursday, 21 August 2014 Posted in 2014, Across the Country, Campaigns

 By Guest Blogger, John DeJoie
NH Kids Count
NH CAN Coordinator/Policy Consultant 

Are 17 year olds really old enough to be sent to adult prisons? In NH, since 1995, the answer has been YES. Over the past decade, as states across the US have recognized that 17 year olds are still children, NH was unwilling to change. Since 2000, Representative David Bickford (R ) attempted to “Raise the Age” without much support, that is until this year. Following on the heels of a successful restoration of the CHINS (Children in Need of Service) statute and funding, the same group of advocates set their sights on modernizing the juvenile justice system in NH, including Raising the Age.
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