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Felony Murder – An Unjust Law That Needs to Go

Brain Evans, State Campaign Director Wednesday, 11 September 2019 Posted in 2019

On August 13, in Old Mill Creek, Lake County, Illinois, a 75-year-old homeowner woke up at about 1 am, heard noises, saw some kids around his car, yelled at them to leave, and, when one advanced on him with an object in his hand (allegedly a hunting knife), fired his gun and killed 14-year-old Jaquon Swopes. Murder charges were soon filed, but not against the homeowner. Instead first degree “felony murder” charges were filed against Jaquon’s five companions, all cousins of his between 16 and 18 years of age, who allegedly were attempting to break into the homeowner’s car.

CFYJ welcomes Tracey Tucker as our new State Policy Manager

CFYJ welcomes Tracey Tucker as our new State Policy Manager
Tracey has been working with CFYJ for two years, and has been instrumental to the success of South Carolina's Raise the Age legislation. Tracey brings strong policy and campaign experience in youth justice issues from her work at ACLU, at the public defenders office, and at the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice. She also participated as a YJLI fellow with the National Juvenile Justice Network, on whose board she still serves. Her training as a special education teacher, social worker and attorney  make her a fantastic advocate in this field, and we are lucky to have her join us. 
 

Remembering Youth in Adult Jails & Prisons During Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Jeree Thomas, Marion Humphrey, Jr., and Dana Abed Tuesday, 03 September 2019 Posted in 2019

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. During this month, we remember and mourn the over 47,000 Americans who commit suicide each year.  September is an opportunity to elevate important prevention strategies and support loved ones at risk of suicide. This month the Campaign for Youth Justice will elevate one prevention strategy for justice-involved youth which is to remove children under eighteen from adult jails and prisons across the country.

Youth Justice Reform at the Federal Level – Summer Update

Rachel Marshall, Federal Policy Counsel Wednesday, 28 August 2019 Posted in 2019

Congress’s summer break, known in D.C. as the “August recess,” is winding to an end, and a busy September awaits lawmakers when they return. Before they return, let’s take a look at the work the 116th Congress has accomplished for juvenile justice reform and related issues thus far:

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.

Legislative Victories 2019: Successful Bills Impacting Youth Prosecuted as Adults

Jeree Thomas, CFYJ Policy Director Thursday, 08 August 2019 Posted in 2019

In 2019, legislators across the country introduced over two hundred bills impacting youth prosecuted as adults. The Campaign for Youth Justice started tracking and publishing these bills in weekly updates archived here. The bills ranged from positive legislation to raise the age to eighteen in Michigan to negative legislation to lower the minimum age of mandatory transfer for certain offenses in Indiana.   Overall, youth, families, advocates, and legislative champions successfully passed a number of bills that will keep youth out of adult courts, jails and prisons.

What Does Safety in School Really Look Like?

CFYJ Research and Policy Fellow, Marion Humphrey Jr. Monday, 05 August 2019 Posted in 2019

On Thursday, July 25, 2019, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held a hearing titled “Examining State and Federal Recommendations for Enhancing School Safety Against Targeted Violence.”  Witnesses included Max Schachter, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Safe Schools for Alex; Tom Hoyer, Treasurer with Stand with Parkland - The National Association of Families for Safe Schools; The Honorable Bob Gualtieri, Chair of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission; Sheriff of Pinellas County, Florida; and Deborah Temkin, PH.D.,Senior Program Area Director, Education Child Trends.

When They See Us Viewing and Panel Discussions

Dana Abed Wednesday, 31 July 2019 Posted in 2019

Last week, The Campaign for Youth Justice hosted a private viewing followed by a panel discussion of the Netflix Original series, “When They See Us”, Part IV. The series, produced by Ava DuVernay, is nothing short of a moving portrayal of the injustices that young people of color face regularly in the justice system. The series of four parts tells the story of the Central Park Five, the five boys who were unjustly incarcerated for raping and attempting to murder a woman in Central Park.

What about our girls in the system?

Francine Kamara Monday, 29 July 2019 Posted in 2019

On July 16th, 2019, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security held a hearing to discuss women and girls in the criminal justice system. When discussing prison reform, the topic is usually centered around the experiences of  men. Unfortunately, we rarely hear from the women and girls who are incarcerated. At the hearing, formerly incarcerated women described their personal experiences in the system. Theses horrific accounts included abuse, lack of privacy, and harassment, among other things.

Fewer Arrests, Empty Facilities, and Solitary Confinement: New York’s Raise the Age Law after 9 Months

Brian Evans Tuesday, 16 July 2019 Posted in 2019

New York’s Raise the Age law has been in effect for 16-year-olds for over 9 months now (it goes into effect for 17-year-olds on October 1 of this year).  The results are (mostly) good, and in line with what we have seen in other states.

For example, in New York City, arrests of 16-year-olds, especially for misdemeanors such as “petit larceny, criminal possession of marijuana 5, assault 3, theft of services, criminal trespass 2 and 3, and criminal possession of a weapon 4” have dropped significantly. And facilities that were anticipated to hold large numbers of children are not even close to full.  According to one recent report: “a total of 171 beds are ready and waiting for youthful offenders but less than 12 percent have been filled.”

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