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YJAM 2014: No One Should Have to Suffer a Lifetime Because of a Childhood Mistake

Xavier McElrath Bey: Campaign For Fair Sentencing of Youth Sunday, 26 October 2014 Posted in Uncategorised

At a recent event, someone commented to me that youth who are tried in adult criminal courts have to contend with a “life sentence” of consequences that result from a conviction and completely negates the prospect of positive change for most youth.

As a youth justice advocate for the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth I often speak out against the practice of sentencing children to life without the possibility of parole, but this was the first time I had ever heard the term “life sentence” used in reference to the lifelong consequences that children face when they receive an adult criminal conviction. Such a conviction can limit access to financial aid for school, housing in many rental units, employment, voting and in myriad other ways. In that moment of clarity, I felt a sudden rush of energy and knew that what he just stated was absolutely true and unfair.

Senators Paul and Booker Envision Better Options for Youth, Congress Takes Concrete Steps for Change

Carmen Daugherty Thursday, 10 July 2014 Posted in Uncategorised

 

This week, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced the REDEEM Act (The Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment Act) which addresses several problematic areas of America’s current criminal justice system.

Latino Voices: The Impacts of Crime and Criminal Justice Policies on Latinos.

Jessica Sandoval Tuesday, 01 July 2014 Posted in Uncategorised

A new report shows that Latino voters support less incarceration and more rehabilitation. This week the Californians for Safety and Justice released a report, Latino Voices: The Impacts of Crime and Criminal Justice Policies on Latinos. The new report reveals that Latinos have surpassed whites to now make up the largest share of California’s population, yet are faced with unequal treatment at every stage of the justice system.

PREA Deadline Has Come and Gone, Seven States "Opt Out"

Carmen E. Daugherty Friday, 30 May 2014 Posted in Uncategorised

On May 15th, states were required to certify compliance, or provide assurances that it would eventually come into compliance, with the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). This week, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ), only two states have certified full compliance with PREA: New Hampshire and New Jersey. Forty-six states provided assurances that they will continue to work on full implementation and seven state Governors completely rebuked the federal statute and stated they would absolutely NOT comply. These states include: Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, and Florida.

Missouri Passes Resolution to Review Youth in Adult System

Carmen Daugherty Wednesday, 07 May 2014 Posted in Uncategorised

Yesterday, continuing the move towards improving Missouri's justice system for ALL youth, Missouri's House of Representatives adopted SCR29, a resolution establishing a "Juvenile Justice Task Force" that will make recommendations to the General Assembly by 2015 on:

DOJ Releases Judicial Waiver Data on Youth, Shows Increase in Drug Offenses Waived to Criminal Court

Carmen Daugherty Tuesday, 29 April 2014 Posted in Uncategorised


According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s latest bulletin, U.S. courts with juvenile jurisdiction handled nearly 1.4 million delinquency cases in 2010. “Delinquency Cases Waived to Criminal Court, 2010” shows that more than half (54%) of these cases were handled formally (i.e., a petition was filed requesting an adjudication or waiver hearing) and of the petitioned delinquency caseload, about 1% resulted in judicial waiver to adult criminal court. The number of delinquency cases judicially waived peaked in 1994 at 13,300 cases, more than double the number of cases waived in 1985. In 2010, juvenile courts waived an estimated 6,000 delinquency cases, 55% fewer cases than in 1994.

CFYJ Goes to College: Windows from Prison Art Exhibit

Jessica Sandoval Tuesday, 15 April 2014 Posted in Uncategorised

 

By Jessica Sandoval

 
On Wednesday, April 9, CFYJ participated on a panel to discuss youth incarcerated in the adult system as part of the Windows from Prison project at George Mason University.  This two-week exhibit will feature hundreds of participants taking part in daily workshops, events, and community forums. Students from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and George Mason University collaborated to create photographs requested by incarcerated Washingtonians. 

 

When youth from Washington are placed in the federal penitentiary system, they can be sent to any prison across the country (potentially thousands of miles away from family or friends). Windows From Prison utilizes photography as a way to bridge this distance while creating space and humanistic entry points for students, teachers, NGO's, family members of incarcerated individuals, former prisoners, and policy makers to engage with the sources, impacts, and alternatives to mass incarceration.
 
“If you could have a window in your cell, what place from your past would it look out to?”
This question was asked to prisoners who are from Washington but who have been sent to prisons across the country. As responses came back, students from George Mason University and Duke Ellington High School went across the city, created the requested photographs, and mailed the images to the incarcerated participants.

From April 7 -21, the photographs, which have each been printed on 10-foot banners, will be exhibited on George Mason University’s Fairfax campus (situated in the main public square in front of the Fenwick Library).

 
For the exhibit, the project has partnered students, teachers, policy advocates, former prisoners, and community members to produce an extensive set of public programing. Each day will feature film screenings, brainstorming sessions, lectures, poetry readings, and more in hopes of meaningfully exploring the causes, effects, and alternatives to incarceration.
 
For more information, the requested images from those incarcerated and a list of events, visit, here
 
To learn more about the efforts to remove youth from the adult court in the District of Columbia, please visit CFYJ's website, here.  

CFYJ and the National PTA: Dedicated to Juvenile Justice Reform

Carmen Daugherty Thursday, 20 March 2014 Posted in Uncategorised

The National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) held its annual legislative conference last week at which CFYJ presented on recent state trends in keeping youth out of the adult criminal justice system. We highlighted the work of over 20 states in their efforts to end the placement of youth in criminal courts, jails, and prisons. Additionally, CFYJ provided background on the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) and shared recommendations to state-level PTA members on how to best advocate for JJDPA reauthorization and improve the current core requirements.

CFYJ Participated in RebLaw Conference hosted by Yale University

Jessica Sandoval Wednesday, 05 March 2014 Posted in Uncategorised

In February, the Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ) was represented at the Rebellious Lawyering Conference (RebLaw) hosted by Yale University. 

Dwayne Betts and Jessica Sandoval


RebLaw is the nation's largest student-run, public interest conference. Each year the conference brings together practitioners, law students, and community activists from around the country to discuss innovative and progressive approaches to law and social change. The conference, grounded in the spirit of influential attorney, Gerald Lopez's rebellious lawyering, seeks to build a community of law students, practitioners, and activists seeking to work in the service of social change movements and to challenge hierarchies of race, wealth, and gender within legal practice and education.

I was privileged to participate as a panelist on the “Roper, Graham, and Miller: What Now, What Next?” panel.  Youth can no longer be sentenced to death, life without parole for non-homicide offenses, or mandatory life without parole. The panel discussed the larger impact of these decisions. Our panel was facilitated by Dwayne Betts, long-time supporter and spokesperson for CFYJ and a first year law student at Yale.  The panelists included: Brandy Buskey, staff attorney at the ACLU;  Vinny Schiraldi, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Probation; and Marsha Levick, co-founder, Deputy Director and Chief Counsel of the Juvenile Law Center.

The room was packed full of law students from around the country who asked very insightful and provocative questions pertaining to these cases and juvenile justice reform in general.  The discussion was robust and wholly agreed upon that Roper, Graham, & Miller was correctly decided.   The panel also discussed that these cases have tightly driven home the message that kids are different and that many factors should be explored before ever considering the adult court as an option.  One option explored was that states and congress should consider not housing youth in adult facilities, and all youth should originate in juvenile justice system while the factors of each of their cases are
considered.

To read more about the dangers of housing youth in adult facilities, please click here.

Advocates Discuss the Need to Improve the JJDPA and Stregthen the role of OJJDP

Carmen Daugherty Wednesday, 19 February 2014 Posted in Uncategorised

 

On February 13th and 14th, the Campaign for Youth Justice participated in a meeting of the “Committee on a Prioritized Plan to Implement a Developmental Approach in Juvenile Justice Reform” held at the National Academies of Sciences. CFYJ’s Policy Director, Carmen Daugherty, participated in an afternoon panel with fellow advocates from the National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) and Justice Policy Institute (JPI) to discuss the need to reauthorize, and appropriately fund, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA). The panelists discussed the importance of the JJDPA and how it helps states leverage federal dollars towards innovative, evidence based programming and the need for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to be the leader in juvenile justice research.

To learn more about why JJDPA matters, visit here

To read coverage by the Juvenile Justice Exchange about this meeting, visit here.

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