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Raise the Age Month

Brian Evans, CFYJ State Campaigns Director Monday, 25 March 2019 Posted in 2019

It started on the last day of February, when Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers announced his intention to “Raise the Age” of adult court jurisdiction to 18 as part of his executive budget. By mid-March, all four states that have yet to pass such “Raise the Age” legislation had taken significant actions towards doing so.

Kent v. U.S. 53 Years Later

Hannah Roberts Thursday, 21 March 2019 Posted in 2019

March 21, 2019 marks the 53rd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Kent v. United States.  In Kent, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the juvenile court judge’s cursory consideration of Morris Kent’s case before transferring him to adult court violated DC’s Juvenile Court Act which required “full investigation” as well as fundamental due process.

How Social Workers Help Keep Youth Out of the Adult Criminal Justice System

Jeree Thomas and Marcy Mistrett Tuesday, 19 March 2019 Posted in 2019

March is Social Work Month.  This month we thank and celebrate social workers across the country for the incredible impact they have on the most vulnerable youth and adults in our communities. The categorizes the following key action areas unique to social work:  promoting social change, problem solving in human relationships, and empowering and liberating all people. Given this, it is no surprise that social workers play a vital role in youth justice reform.

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.

A.C.T. to End Racism

Marcy Mistrett Monday, 11 March 2019 Posted in 2019

Many activists and organizers are well versed in the ways that structural racism drives unfair outcomes for youth who come in contact with the law.  It is well documented that despite a near 60% drop in youth incarceration and continued falling arrest rates that in many places racial and ethnic disparities are increasing despite reform efforts.  Youth of color, particularly Black youth, who are charged, incarcerated, and sentenced as adults heavily bear the burden of these disparities. Not only are they treated more harshly than their white counterparts when arrested with the same crimes; but they are sentenced more extremely, often getting longer sentences than adults who commit similar crimes. This is unacceptable.

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Submission

Rachel Marshall Wednesday, 06 March 2019 Posted in 2019

This month, the United Nations’ (U.N.) Human Rights Committee will begin the process for its periodic review of U.S. compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The ICCPR requires state members to enforce a wide range of human rights and was ratified by the U.S. in 1992. While the U.S. often presents itself as a beacon for upholding human rights, past reviews have revealed that the U.S. continues to fail to meet its obligations under the ICCPR. International law, including the ICCPR, recognizes that children in conflict with the law have the right to special protection because of their youth, capacity for change, and the long term detrimental impact that adult criminal punishments can have during a crucial time in their development.

A Day of Empathy, A Week of Faith and Healing

Aprill O. Turner, CFYJ Communications Director Tuesday, 05 March 2019 Posted in 2019

Today is National Day of Empathy and also Juvenile Justice Week of Faith and Healing (JJMWH) and is an opportunity to transform the paradigm of justice; moving from an over reliance on punishment, and taking a deeper look at how we can be a society that practices more empathy and redemption.

Justice Through a New Lens

By Hannah Kehrer, CFYJ Fellow Thursday, 14 February 2019 Posted in 2019

They say a picture says 1000 words, but what about when a picture leaves you speechless? This week, American University hosted Richard Ross’ photo Exhibit “Justice through a New Lens: Reframing Youth Incarceration through Art.”  Throughout the halls of American University’s Public Affairs Department, striking photos filled the walls. Beside each photo was a brief description which only made these images more personal. On the first floor, photographs of youth incarcerated filled the halls. The photo exhibition was a mix of incarcerated youth and adults in their 60s, 70s, and even 80s who were sentenced as juveniles. Children as young as 11 were featured.

The Silent Epidemic: Cognitive-Communicative Disorders & Justice-System Involvement of Youth

By Shameka Stanford, Ph.D., CCC-SLP/L, Assistant Professor - Communication Sciences & Disorders & Jeree Thomas, CFYJ Policy Director Monday, 04 February 2019 Posted in 2019

Every year over 75,000 youth under 18 are prosecuted as adults in the criminal justice system.  Although judicial waiver is used in less than 5% of all cases when youth are tried as adults, this data is collected routinely at the federal level, making it easiest to track.  Youth transferred by juvenile court judges are disproportionately black and male. There is also research to suggest that these youth are disproportionately impacted by mental health needs.  While the intersection of mental health, trauma, and justice-system involvement have been explored over the last decade,  one connection that has not been fully examined is the difference between cognitive-communicative disorders and mental health; and the confluence of cognitive-communicative disorders and disproportionate justice-system involvement for black youth.

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