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Black History Month: Legislative Leaders of Youth Justice Reform

By Rachel Marshall, CFYJ Federal Policy Counsel Friday, 14 February 2020 Posted in 2020

In recognition of Black History Month, CFYJ is featuring a month-long series that celebrates advocates, elected officials and spokespeople that are leading the charge to reform how youth are treated in the criminal justice system.

By Rachel Marshall, CFYJ Federal Policy Counsel

Throughout the last decade we have seen incredible progress in overturning laws that funnel youth into the adult criminal justice system and passing laws to reform our country’s approach for handling justice-involved youth. While youth justice advocates have worked tirelessly for these reforms, we couldn’t have done it without the support of key lawmakers and other elected officials.

Celebrating Ten Years of 'Raising the Age' in Connecticut

By Brian Evans, CFYJ State Campaigns Director Monday, 10 February 2020 Posted in 2020

By Brian Evans, CFYJ State Campaigns Director

Ten years ago, Connecticut took a giant step forward and “Raised the Age” of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18 years of age. As one of only three states in the country that still considered all 16 and 17 year olds as adults, no matter how minor the charge, it was a radical notion for the state to make this shift. Passed in 2007 amid much concern and trepidation about its potential impact on juvenile crime and on the state’s budget, the law turned out to be a resounding success.

Black History Month: Leaders of the “Raise the Age” Movement

By Brian Evans, CFYJ State Campaigns Director Saturday, 08 February 2020 Posted in 2020

In recognition of Black History Month, CFYJ is featuring a month-long series that celebrates advocates, elected officials and spokespeople that are leading the charge to reform how youth are treated in the criminal justice system.

By Brian Evans, CFYJ State Campaigns Director

The most successful youth justice movement over the past decade, that has dramatically reduced the numbers of children charged as adults, has been the movement to “Raise the Age”. Prior to 2007, there were 14 states with laws that required all 17-year-olds (and in some cases 16-year-olds) to be charged as adults, regardless of their alleged offense. Now there are just three (Georgia, Texas, and Wisconsin).

Black History Month: Honoring The Voices of Youth Justice

By Aprill O. Turner, CFYJ Communications Director Monday, 03 February 2020 Posted in 2020

In recognition of Black History Month, CFYJ will feature a month-long series that celebrates advocates, elected officials and spokespeople that are leading the charge to reform how youth are treated in the criminal justice system.

By Aprill O. Turner, CFYJ Communications Director 

Black History Month is a time to celebrate and remember all the ways that African Americans have contributed to our history and culture. It is also a time to reflect on the ills that still plague us as a nation -- and to learn from the injustices and adversities the Black community has faced.

OUR BELOVED COMMUNITY

By Marcy Mistrett, CEO Thursday, 16 January 2020 Posted in 2020

Make Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a day on and not off: Support the Justice for Juveniles Act

By Marcy Mistrett, CFYJ CEO

It’s a nice coincidence that the much awaited film based on Bryan Stevenson’s life, Just Mercy, launched just weeks before the country celebrates the birthday of one of our greatest social justice warriors, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who would have been 91 today had he not been assassinated.

Dr. King upheld the principles of justice, equal opportunity and love in his call for a Beloved Community. He was arrested and jailed 29 times; so was no stranger to the mistreatment inmates received in southern jails, including in Montgomery, AL, the same city where Stevenson’s Equal Justice  Initiative was founded.  He was able to see humanity in his oppressors, and found forgiveness for those who committed harm against him and his family.

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.

2019 Federal Wrap Up

By Rachel Marshall, CFYJ Federal Policy Counsel Friday, 13 December 2019 Posted in Federal Update

The start of 2019 was an exciting one for juvenile justice advocates – coming off the reauthorization of the of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA), the possibilities for reform in the 116th Congress felt endless. As outlined in the National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Coalition’s (NJJDPC) recommendations to the new Congress, we urged Congress to build on the momentum of the JJDPA reauthorization by embracing a positive vision for youth justice reform; ensuring developmentally appropriate responses to justice-involved youth; reducing reliance on detention and incarceration, instead investing in communities; ensuring fairness, equity, and safety for justice-involved youth; and helping youth successfully re-enter their communities.

As the first session of the 116th Congress comes to an end, let’s see whether Congress took up any of our recommendations:

To Whom I Give Thanks...

By Marcy Mistrett, CFYJ CEO Tuesday, 26 November 2019 Posted in 2019

By Marcy Mistrett, CFYJ CEO

In the field of youth justice, giving thanks isn't something that  happens on just one day in November. In fact, the history of Thanksgiving demands that we acknowledge the profound injustice on which this holiday is based. Yet, the principles of gratitude are inherent in the fight for justice. 

When thinking about the number of youth who won't be home with family over the upcoming holiday season, I give thanks for:

  • Our families who fight for other children when still worrying about the safety of their own;
  • Our families who find a way to forgiveness after being harmed by violence.
  • Our children who suffer unimaginabely by being housed in adult jails and prisons, who continue to hope and love through their pain;
  • Our warriors who call for abolition and investment over incarceration--and those who believe that families can heal, even after generations of truama;
  • Our legislators who fight for what is right over what is winnable;
  • Our staff who never count hours or tears or hugs; 
  • Our laws that have been changed and implemented with integrity;
  • Our willingness to insist on a racial justice lens to this work; 
  • Our communities who move us from reform to transform to healing; 
  • Our elected leaders who are willing to take risks to try something new; 

Justice requires both healing and liberation.  The Campaign for Youth Justice is thankful to join a movement that insists on both for our children and communities.

Please consider supporting our work by donating here.

States Embrace the Juvenile Justice Reform Act

By Wanda Barradas, CFYJ Fellow Monday, 18 November 2019 Posted in 2019

In the last few weeks of the 115th Congress, and after letting the law go unauthorized for nearly 16 years, Congress finally passed H.R. 6964, the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2018 (JJRA), which reauthorized the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA). This critical federal law improves the conditions for youth involved in the juvenile justice system across the country, and the reauthorization made critical updates to the four core protections for justice-involved youth provided by the law:

State and Local Elections 2019: Criminal Justice Implications

By Javier Aguilar, CFYJ Fellow Thursday, 07 November 2019 Posted in 2019

On November 5, 2019,  the United States held numerous state and local elections throughout the country, encompassing a variety of governor and prosecutor positions. According to the political report, The Appeal, approximately 500 prosecutors and sheriffs will be elected in 2019, which will be instrumental in shaping criminal justice reforms. On Tuesday night, Americans in several states had the chance to support candidates that have proposed policy initiatives that will mitigate the racial disparities within the criminal justice system by reducing the high volume of felony convictions and supporting voting rights for citizens returning from felony convictions.

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