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The Power of Love

Monday, 13 February 2017 Posted in Campaigns

By Marcy Mistrett, CEO

As we celebrate Valentine’s Day this week, and as the Executive Director of a national organization that ends the prosecution of youth in adult court, I am urging us all to embrace ‘the Power of Love’.

Since its inception, the Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ), has insisted that impacted youth and families need to be equal partners at the reform table.  Why, You might ask?  First, because we know that those closest to the problem are best informed on ways to FIX the problem.  But beyond that, youth and family advocacy is critical because when drafting reforms, families always remind us of the potential of their child(ren) to learn from their mistakes and make amends, especially if they feel supported and loved.  It is this humanity that insists on urgency, resists compromise, and pushes for hope and possibility. Without families and youth at the table—reforms would not go nearly far enough.

New Guide Documents that Over Half of Girls in California’s Juvenile Justice Facilities Are LGBTQ or Gender Nonconforming

Monday, 13 February 2017 Posted in Voices

This blog was originally issued as a press release. 

Today, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and Impact Justice announced the release of a trailblazing publication entitled “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Questioning, and/or Gender Nonconforming and Transgender Girls and Boys in the California Juvenile Justice System: A Practice Guide.” The guide, written by Angela Irvine and Aisha Canfield at Impact Justice and Shannan Wilber at NCLR, provides California probation officials with the tools to protect the safety and well-being of LGBTQ and gender nonconforming (GNC) youth in their care and custody.

Mapping A Way Out Of The Adult Justice System

Friday, 03 February 2017

By Anne-Lise Vray, Communications Associate

In 2017, the Campaign for Youth Justice has chosen to draw a map throughout the year showing the way(s) out of the adult justice system. Each month, CFYJ will identify a new stop on the road that highlights a problem in prosecuting youth as adults and a way to remap an effective alternative.

The Justice System Continues to Fail Black Boys

Wednesday, 01 February 2017 Posted in Across the Country

By Aprill O. Turner, CFYJ Communications Director

As we begin another Black History Month, it is time to celebrate the contributions and history of African Americans in this country.  Along with the celebration of progress, it’s also a time to reflect on areas for improvement. How young Black boys are treated in the criminal justice system is one of those areas.

We are in a national crisis. Across the country our justice system is marked by disparate racial outcomes at every stage of the process — especially for those who are most vulnerable, young Black boys. The racial and ethnic disparities that exist in our criminal and juvenile justice systems do not measure up to the standard of treating everyone equitably.

Guest Column: #connection: Expanding Our Social Capital

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

By Ethan Smith, MA, Mentoring Specialist at Save Our Youth.

The Executive Director of Save Our Youth often says kids are a product of who they are connected to and who they are disconnected from. What a sobering thought, especially as we see increasing numbers of kids with few, shallow, or antagonistic relationships with their communities, schools, and even families. Instead, digital media and smart technology have introduced a world of supposedly unlimited connections, and kids today eagerly substitute online “socialization” for real relationships at unprecedented rates. This trend applies equally to the kids we serve around Denver, who are already considered at-risk because of the struggles their families, neighborhoods, and schools face.

New Year, More Possibilities

Brian Evans Monday, 23 January 2017 Posted in Campaigns

By Brian Evans, CFYJ State Campaign Director

Last year was a pretty good one, at least for reforms and restrictions on the practice of transferring youth to the adult criminal justice system. Two states (Louisiana and South Carolina) Raised the Age of adult criminal court jurisdiction to 18, and two other states (California and Vermont) took away the power of prosecutors to “Direct File” children into the adult system. In addition, Washington DC and Arizona passed laws to keep kids out of adult jails, and Indiana enacted a law that will allow some youth charged as adults to return to the juvenile justice system.

Time to March, United We Stand, Divided We Fall

Marcy Mistrett Wednesday, 18 January 2017

By Marcy Mistrett, CEO

On the eve of the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States, I have done a lot of reflection on the need for a peaceful transition of power as one of the core tenants of our democracy.  It’s a moment for our incoming leader to set the roadmap for the country over the next four years.  It is a day filled with deep tradition and symbolism. 

Week of Paradox: Martin Luther King Day to Inauguration of President Elect Trump

Marcy Mistrett Tuesday, 17 January 2017 Posted in Voices

By Marcy Mistrett, CEO

The week of January 15, 2017 is one book-ended by two events of national importance that, juxtaposed, provide us an opportunity to re-evaluate and recommit to our values and beliefs as a country and to our children. Monday, we celebrated Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday – a day marked with our country’s values of hope, inclusion, justice and freedom. By Friday, we welcome in President-Elect Trump, who won his election based on values of fear, bigotry, and exclusion. Yet, what state campaigns that fight for the removal of youth from the adult court can verify, is that in providing a clear roadmap toward justice, we can overcome fear, bridge this paradox and become stronger together.

State v. Aalim: Ending Mandatory Transfer of Youth to the Adult Court in Ohio

Monday, 09 January 2017 Posted in Campaigns, Voices

By Jeree Thomas, CFYJ Policy Director

Right before the holidays, on December 22, 2016, the Ohio Supreme Court decided State v. Aalim and wrote an opinion that is a gift of true due process for Ohio’s youth at risk of mandatory transfer to the adult criminal justice system. 

In State v. Aalim, the Ohio Supreme Court held that the state’s mandatory transfer statute which requires the transfer of youth to the adult system when they are a certain age and have committed a certain offense “violates juveniles’ right to due process as guaranteed by Article I, Section 16 of the Ohio Constitution.”  Aalim argued and the Court agreed that due process requires that every youth receive an opportunity to demonstrate capacity to change, that youth is a mitigating, not aggravating factor, that the mandatory statute’s irrefutable presumption to transfer is fundamentally unfair, and that youth have a right to have their individual characteristics considered at every stage in a proceeding, not just sentencing.  As a result, the mandatory transfer statute does not provide due process, and is therefore unconstitutional. 

Looking Back

Brian Evans Thursday, 05 January 2017 Posted in Campaigns

A Look Back At 2016

2016 was in many ways – let’s face it – a wretched year. But for the work to protect youth from the horrors of the adult criminal justice system, 2016 was actually a pretty good year.

The states of South Carolina and Louisiana passed laws to raise the age of adult court jurisdiction to 18. The states of Vermont and California both ended the practice of allowing prosecutors, without judicial review, to “direct file” juveniles into adult court.

A new law in Indiana will allow some youth charged as adults to transfer back into the juvenile system, and a new law in Arizona will keep some kids charged as adults out of adult jails while they await their trials.  And Washington, D.C., included removing youth from adult jails in its Comprehensive Youth Justice Amendment Act of 2016.

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