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Campaigns

State Spotlight: Challenging Juvenile Transfer in Florida

Hannah Roberts, CFYJ Policy & Research Legal Fellow & Jeree Thomas, Policy Director Thursday, 14 March 2019 Posted in Campaigns

2019 is shaping up to be a transformative year for juvenile and criminal justice reform in Florida.  Florida legislators are considering 15 bills related to the transfer and treatment of youth prosecuted and incarcerated as adults in the state.  S.B. 850 and H.B. 339 eliminate mandatory transfer and prohibit the direct file of 14 and 15-year olds to adult court. S.B. 870 and HB 575 prohibit detaining youth awaiting trial in adult jails except in limited circumstances when a judge determines its in the interest of justice. S.B. 876, H.B. 1293, and HB 575 allow youth transferred to adult court to request a hearing to determine whether they must remain in adult court.

Torture By Another Name: The Use of Solitary Confinement on Youth and Young Adults in New Jersey Prisons

Duvall Ricks and David Crosby Tuesday, 26 June 2018 Posted in 2018, Campaigns

By Duvall Ricks and David Crosby, New Jersey Youth Caucus

In 2011, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture deemed the use of solitary confinement against youth and individuals with mental health disabilities as torture.  For three years, I saw and experienced firsthand the impact of solitary on youth and young adults in adult jails and prisons. I watched fellow inmates crumble under the conditions of solitary.  Some committed suicide.  Others experienced severe depression and anger.  No one walks out of that experience feeling whole or somehow better than they were going in.

Justice, Fairness, and Power: Why District Attorney Races Matter on Ballots in 2018

Gianna Nitti Tuesday, 27 March 2018 Posted in Campaigns

By Gianna Nitti, Public Interest Communications and State Campaigns Fellow

In our country one of the elected officials that holds the most power, and often for long terms, is the District Attorney (alternative titles include commonwealth's attorney in Kentucky and Virginia, state's or county attorney in Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Vermont, and circuit solicitor in South Carolina). DA’s have a crucial role in the criminal justice system – they are responsible for deciding whether or not to prosecute a case and the level of charges and sentences that they are going to pursue.

Youth Justice in Alabama: Positive Steps

Brian Evans Wednesday, 10 January 2018 Posted in 2018, Campaigns

By Brian Evans, State Campaigns Director

From 2010-2015, an average of 600 children were tried as adults in Alabama each year; most of them were sent to adult court automatically, without any judicial review.  It is well known that the adult system is worse, both for the young people sent there, and because of higher recidivism rates, for the society that sent them there.  In an election year where reactionary, ‘80s-style, “tough on crime” rhetoric is making an unwelcome comeback, it is refreshing to see that Alabama apparently intends to move – albeit slowly – in the “smart on crime” direction.

California: Here’s What’s Moving in Youth Justice in 2017

Monday, 25 September 2017 Posted in 2017, Campaigns

By Abigail Appel, Juvenile Justice Fellow

Historically, children who are involved in the justice system at a young age are much more likely to be arrested again as adults. In an effort to dismantle this correlation and increase the likelihood that justice-involved youth have positive outcomes, California has recently passed a number of bills. These bills address various hurdles that make it much harder for youth with criminal records to be successful upon release. All of the bills move away from the “one size fits all” logic in order to give children better opportunities for rehabilitation and judges more leeway to determine a fair punishment.

Impact of Raise the Age on Mississippi’s juvenile courts

Thursday, 31 August 2017 Posted in 2017, Campaigns

By Josh Rovner

On July 1, 2011, Mississippi implemented Senate Bill 2969 (2010) to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to include 17-year olds charged with most felonies. Reading old news clips confirms sense of the déjà vu for other campaigns – we’ve been here before.

New York and North Carolina Are The Last States To Raise The Age of which Children can be Funneled Through their Adult Jails and Prisons

Friday, 21 July 2017 Posted in 2017, Campaigns

By Marcy Mistrett, CEO

2017 marks a historical milestone in the United States’ juvenile justice system.    After decades of advocacy, New York and North Carolina both passed legislation to raise their age of juvenile court jurisdiction to 18.  When both laws are fully implemented in 2019, it will be the first time in US history since the creation of the juvenile court that no state will automatically treat 16 year olds as adults solely because of their age.  While a vast majority of states treat individuals under 18 as youth and therefore start them in juvenile court, this age has never been uniformly agreed upon.

North Carolina Raises the Age!

Tuesday, 27 June 2017 Posted in 2017, Campaigns

By Jeree Thomas, Policy Director

The Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ) is thrilled that after nearly 100 years of treating 16 and 17-year olds as adults, the North Carolina legislature has passed a budget bill that includes raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to 18 in North Carolina.   Although Governor Cooper vetoed the budget bill due to other policy concerns, the bill has enough support in the legislature to override the Governor’s veto.

North Carolina “Raise the Age” Takes a Big Step Forward

Tuesday, 16 May 2017 Posted in 2017, Campaigns

By Brian Evans, State Campaign Director

On May 17, the North Carolina House of Representatives passed HB 280, legislation that will “Raise the Age” of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18. Once New York raised the age earlier this year, North Carolina became the only state in the country still committed to prosecuting all 16 and 17 year olds as adults, regardless of how minor the offense might be.

Put aside what we don’t know and support justice-involved youth with mental health needs

Tuesday, 16 May 2017 Posted in 2017, Campaigns

By Micah Haskell-Hoehl, Legislative and Federal Affairs Officer at the American Psychological Association

We need to be careful about the language we use to discuss mental health and juvenile justice—and even more careful about how we meet the mental health needs of justice-involved youth.

By the numbers, the link may seem straightforward. Up to 70 percent of youth detained in the juvenile justice system—three to four times the rate among their peers in the community—have diagnosable symptoms of a mental health disorder. Depending on the individual diagnosis, the disparity can be even greater, and, particularly alarming, justice-involved youth experience severe emotional disturbance at two and a half times the rate in the community.

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