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Our Unheard Voices: Youth On the Margins

By Cheryl Bonacci, Sabra Williams: Co-founders Creative Acts Wednesday, 17 October 2018 Posted in 2018, Across the Country

By Cheryl Bonacci, Sabra Williams: Co-founders Creative Acts

With more than three decades between us working with young people in the criminal justice system, we knew exactly where we wanted to go to raise the volume on young voices. Especially with the 2017 California law ensuring the voting rights of people incarcerated in juvenile and adult jail facilities…we went directly to the juvenile halls and probation camps of Los Angeles County.

In Defense of Childhood: A Call to Action to Defend Immigrants Who Aren’t Citizens Yet, Especially Children

Kent Mendoza, Anti-Recidivism Coalition & CFYJ Spokesperson Tuesday, 09 October 2018 Posted in 2018, Across the Country

 In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Campaign for Youth Justice is supporting a series on the impact of federal and state youth justice policies and practices and their disparate impact on Latinx families. This is the third blog in our series. 

By Kent Mendoza, Policy Coordinator for the Anti-Recidivism Coalition & CFYJ Spokesperson

I was brought to this country at age six.   I still remember the hardships my mom had to endure, coming to this country by herself, while living in Los Angeles searching a job that could support my siblings and I.  It was very hard for her to raise me by herself while still trying to settle down in a foreign place.  Her below living wage income meant that from the day I began my journey in this country, I was exposed to the harsh realities of living in a community where drugs, gangs, and violence were rampant.  This environment, which was a mixture of hard working families and disinvestment in community supports for young people, became my “normal.”

Reinterpreting Flores: What does this mean for the detention of minors?

Katie Rankin Wednesday, 03 October 2018 Posted in Federal Update

In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Campaign for Youth Justice is supporting a series on the impact of federal and state youth justice policies and practices and their disparate impact on Latinx families. This is the second blog in our series. 

By Katie Rankin,  CFYJ Research and Policy Legal Fellow

On September 18, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs held a hearing on The Implications of the Reinterpretation of the Flores Settlement Agreement for Border Security and Illegal Immigration Incentives. The Flores Agreement sets forth a policy that requires immigrant children be released from detention to a parent, guardian, relative, or a designated party without delay. The agreement also sets forth standards on conditions for facilities in cases where a child cannot be released to a parent or guardian. Critics believe that this agreement creates incentives, or loopholes, for minors and family traveling with minors to cross the border illegally because minors must be treated differently.

YJAM: Ten Years of Raising Awareness & Taking Action for Youth

Roy Austin Friday, 28 September 2018 Posted in 2018, Across the Country, CFYJ Updates, Take Action Now, Voices

By Marcy Mistrtett, CEO of the Campaign for Youth Justice and Roy Austin, Partner at Harris, Wiltshire and Grannis and former Deputy Assistant to the President for the Office of Urban Affairs, Justice and Opportunity (U.S. Domestic Policy Council)

Today is the first day of October, and the launch of the tenth anniversary of Youth Justice Action Month (YJAM). YJAM began with one mother whose 17-year-old son tragically took his life in an adult prison in Missouri. Since then, this month marks a time when communities across the country take action against inhumane and harsh treatment of children in the justice system.  In 2015 and 2016, the Campaign for Youth Justice worked with the Obama Administration’s Domestic Policy Council on proclamations issued in honor of YJAM and the progress made on behalf of young people who come in contact with the justice system.  In the 2016 proclamation, President Obama called on all of us to “affirm our commitment to helping children of every background become successful engaged citizens.”

It's National Voter Registration Day: Let's Get Ready to #VoteYouthJustice!

Rachel Marshall Monday, 24 September 2018

By Rachel Marshall, CFYJ Federal Policy Counsel

It seems like no matter where you turn these days, everyone is talking about the 2018 election, including the Campaign for Youth Justice. As we approach the kick off of Youth Justice Action Month in October, we’ve been focused on highlighting the issues that impact young people and why, when you head to the polls on November 6, you should #voteyouthjustice. While public safety often makes it onto the public polls and local political platforms, we spend little time re-imagining justice for our young people. In fact, three out of four people in local courtrooms—district attorneys, sheriffs, and some judges—are in elected positions. Their decisions directly affect our daily lives, especially when it comes to policing and the public safety of our most vulnerable population, our children.

Latinx Injustice

Dr. Francisco A. Villarruel, Ph.D. Tuesday, 18 September 2018 Posted in 2018, Across the Country

In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Campaign for Youth Justice is supporting a series on the impact of federal and state youth justice policies and practices and their disparate impact on Latinx families. 

Our first blog is written by Dr. Francisco A. Villarruel, Ph.D. at Michigan State University and CFYJ Board member.

For over two decades, advocates, community based practitioners, families, and researchers have challenged the Department of Justice to consider modifying data on the number of Latinx youth that spend part of their adolescence with juvenile justice systems. While some might consider this an inconsequential and unimportant issue, the failure to better understand the diversity of Latinx youth has serious implications. One assumption, for example, is that immigrant youth (those born outside of the U.S. or those that come early in their lives) are more likely to be involved with the juvenile justice system. Yet, there is no reliable way to substantiate or refute this claim. Research shows that immigrant adults are less likely to violate public laws – why do we assume this would be any different for children? Do we know whether generational status impacts involvement with juvenile justice systems? Evidence suggests yes, but most of the work to date has focused on only those that have recently immigrated with those that have not. 

Youth Justice Action Month is October – Less Than a Month Away!

Brian Evans Wednesday, 12 September 2018 Posted in 2018, Across the Country, CFYJ Updates

By Brian Evans, CFYJ State Campaigns Director

Youth Justice Action Month (YJAM) is October – less than a month away!

Whether you are just starting to organize, or are already planning something, please Sign up today so we can work with you to make YJAM as impactful as possible!

Kavanaugh Hearings: Justice Kennedy Was a Voice of Reason on Youth Justice, Now What?

Brian Evans Wednesday, 05 September 2018 Posted in 2018, Across the Country

By Brian Evans, CFYJ State Campaigns Director

One of the legacies of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s tenure at the U.S. Supreme Court will be his central role in recognizing that, for the purposes of criminal justice, “children are different” and should be treated differently than adults

Basing his arguments on an emerging consensus in adolescent neuroscience and development, a consensus that continues to strengthen, Kennedy was a decisive voice in decisions that protected children from the harshest punishments applied to adults.

Class is Back in Session: It's Time To Rethink the Number of School Resource Officers in our Schools

Marcy Mistrett Tuesday, 04 September 2018 Posted in Across the Country

By Marcy Mistrett, CFYJ CEO

The end of summer has arrived.  Children across the country will officially be back in school this week.  Families have been busy getting ready—new shoes, uniforms, school supplies and bus passes. Children anticipate meeting a new teacher, seeing friends they missed over the summer, and routine schedules.

However, in far too many places, school leaders are struggling with inadequate budgets and public pressure to keep schools safe.  Too often, these responses rely on increasing the presence of law enforcement officers, or in some cases, allowing teachers and administrators to carry weapons in school. Despite there being too many multi-victim school shootings in the U.S., schools remain amongst the safest places for children to be.

Is it Enough? The Implementation of PREA’s Youthful Inmate Standard

Jeree Thomas Tuesday, 04 September 2018 Posted in 2018, Federal Update

By Jeree Thomas, CFYJ Policy Director

This September marks the 15th Anniversary of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), a federal law enacted to address the problem of sexual assault and rape in U.S. detention centers, jails, lock ups, and prisons.  Regulations for the law specifically address one of the most vulnerable populations in adult jails and prisons: youth under age 18.

PREA’s Youthful Inmate Standard was developed to create a minimum standard that protects youth in adult facilities from being raped or sexually assaulted by requiring that youth are held in housing where they are sight and sound separated from adults.  The standard also requires supervision when youth are outside of housing units with incarcerated adults. The challenges associated with keeping youth sight and sound separated under the standard has helped contribute to a growing number of state legislatures passing bills to create a presumption or a requirement that youth under 18 are held in juvenile placements even when they are prosecuted as adults. 

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