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Youth Justice in Alabama: Positive Steps

Brian Evans Wednesday, 10 January 2018 Posted in 2018, Campaigns

By Brian Evans, State Campaigns Director

From 2010-2015, an average of 600 children were tried as adults in Alabama each year; most of them were sent to adult court automatically, without any judicial review.  It is well known that the adult system is worse, both for the young people sent there, and because of higher recidivism rates, for the society that sent them there.  In an election year where reactionary, ‘80s-style, “tough on crime” rhetoric is making an unwelcome comeback, it is refreshing to see that Alabama apparently intends to move – albeit slowly – in the “smart on crime” direction.

California: Here’s What’s Moving in Youth Justice in 2017

Monday, 25 September 2017 Posted in 2017, Campaigns

By Abigail Appel, Juvenile Justice Fellow

Historically, children who are involved in the justice system at a young age are much more likely to be arrested again as adults. In an effort to dismantle this correlation and increase the likelihood that justice-involved youth have positive outcomes, California has recently passed a number of bills. These bills address various hurdles that make it much harder for youth with criminal records to be successful upon release. All of the bills move away from the “one size fits all” logic in order to give children better opportunities for rehabilitation and judges more leeway to determine a fair punishment.

Impact of Raise the Age on Mississippi’s juvenile courts

Thursday, 31 August 2017 Posted in 2017, Campaigns

By Josh Rovner

On July 1, 2011, Mississippi implemented Senate Bill 2969 (2010) to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to include 17-year olds charged with most felonies. Reading old news clips confirms sense of the déjà vu for other campaigns – we’ve been here before.

New York and North Carolina Are The Last States To Raise The Age of which Children can be Funneled Through their Adult Jails and Prisons

Friday, 21 July 2017 Posted in 2017, Campaigns

By Marcy Mistrett, CEO

2017 marks a historical milestone in the United States’ juvenile justice system.    After decades of advocacy, New York and North Carolina both passed legislation to raise their age of juvenile court jurisdiction to 18.  When both laws are fully implemented in 2019, it will be the first time in US history since the creation of the juvenile court that no state will automatically treat 16 year olds as adults solely because of their age.  While a vast majority of states treat individuals under 18 as youth and therefore start them in juvenile court, this age has never been uniformly agreed upon.

North Carolina Raises the Age!

Tuesday, 27 June 2017 Posted in 2017, Campaigns

By Jeree Thomas, Policy Director

The Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ) is thrilled that after nearly 100 years of treating 16 and 17-year olds as adults, the North Carolina legislature has passed a budget bill that includes raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to 18 in North Carolina.   Although Governor Cooper vetoed the budget bill due to other policy concerns, the bill has enough support in the legislature to override the Governor’s veto.

North Carolina “Raise the Age” Takes a Big Step Forward

Tuesday, 16 May 2017 Posted in 2017, Campaigns

By Brian Evans, State Campaign Director

On May 17, the North Carolina House of Representatives passed HB 280, legislation that will “Raise the Age” of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18. Once New York raised the age earlier this year, North Carolina became the only state in the country still committed to prosecuting all 16 and 17 year olds as adults, regardless of how minor the offense might be.

Put aside what we don’t know and support justice-involved youth with mental health needs

Tuesday, 16 May 2017 Posted in 2017, Campaigns

By Micah Haskell-Hoehl, Legislative and Federal Affairs Officer at the American Psychological Association

We need to be careful about the language we use to discuss mental health and juvenile justice—and even more careful about how we meet the mental health needs of justice-involved youth.

By the numbers, the link may seem straightforward. Up to 70 percent of youth detained in the juvenile justice system—three to four times the rate among their peers in the community—have diagnosable symptoms of a mental health disorder. Depending on the individual diagnosis, the disparity can be even greater, and, particularly alarming, justice-involved youth experience severe emotional disturbance at two and a half times the rate in the community.

A Day of Empathy to Kick Off Juvenile Justice Month of Faith & Healing

Wednesday, 01 March 2017 Posted in 2017, Campaigns

By Jeree Thomas, Policy Director

March 1st is the National Day of Empathy.  It is a perfect start to the Juvenile Justice Month of Faith and Healing.  The National Day of Empathy, created by the non-profit Dream Corp, is a call to action for those impacted by the prison industrial complex and issues within in the criminal justice system to meet with legislators on why criminal justice reform is so important to America’s future. 

The Power of Love

Monday, 13 February 2017 Posted in 2017, 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 Year, More Possibilities

Brian Evans Monday, 23 January 2017 Posted in 2017, 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.

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