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Voices

ROOTS Weekend Richmond: “Creating a World Without Prisons”

Monday, 24 April 2017 Posted in Voices

By Jeree Thomas, Policy Director

The Campaign for Youth Justice had the pleasure of participating in ROOTS Weekend Richmond from April 20th-23rd in Richmond, Virginia. The gathering was a part of Alternate ROOTS weekend series that brings together artists, activists, and community members around themes involving social and economic justice.

Thoughts from LEAD 2017: ‘Persistent Fleas’ Fight for Youth Justice

Wednesday, 12 April 2017 Posted in Voices

By Catie Armstrong, Juvenile Justice Fellow

The fifth annual McCourt School of Public Policy’s LEAD (Leadership, Evidence, Analysis, Debate) Conference “Moving from Research to Policy and Practice to Improve the Lives of Youth” took place on campus at Georgetown University on April 6 and 7.

March is Youth Art Month

Friday, 17 March 2017 Posted in Voices

By Anne-Lise Vray, Communications Associate

In March, we celebrate Youth Art Month, a great occasion to also celebrate the art created by justice-involved youth and its healing properties. Art in all its forms is often a way for incarcerated youth to take their mind away from their harsh reality and to find hope that better days will come. For many, art is also a therapy and a soothing way to express themselves or expel their trauma. Organizations like Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop use art and creative expression to bring hope to youth in the justice system. Through books, creative writing, and peer support, Free Minds “awaken[s] DC youth incarcerated as adults to their own potential.” Organizations like Free Minds are crucial in the fight to ensure that justice-involved youth get a second chance and the support their need to build - or rebuild – their life.

Honoring Trayvon Martin: Black Boys Deserve More

Friday, 24 February 2017 Posted in Voices

By Catie Armstrong, Juvenile Justice Fellow

Five years ago, on the evening of Feburary 26, 2012, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed. After visiting a local convenience store, Trayvon began walking home, armed only with the bag of Skittles and Arizona Iced Tea he had just purchased. A 28-year-old man, armed with a gun, shot and killed Trayvon that night.

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.

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. 

It’s Time to Treat Our Youth as Youth: The Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform Adopt a Policy Statement in Support of Keeping Youth out of the Adult Criminal Justice System

Monday, 12 December 2016 Posted in Voices

This statement was originally published on the Physicians for Criminal Justice Reforn's website. 

The Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform support the end of the prosecution, sentencing, and incarceration of youth under the age of 18 in the adult criminal justice system.

Each year, approximately 200,000 youth are prosecuted in the adult criminal justice system. According to decades of medical literature, adolescent brains are developmentally different from those of adults, often leading to impulsive decision-making, increased risk-taking and decreased appreciation for long-term consequences of behaviors. As a result, youth, by law, are prohibited from taking on major adult responsibilities such as voting, jury duty, and military service. It follows, then, that youth should not be held to an adult standard of accountability when involved with the criminal justice system.

Reflecting on the past and looking forward to the future

Wednesday, 30 November 2016 Posted in CFYJ Updates, Voices

By Jessica Sandoval and Roger Ghatt

As the Campaign for Youth Justice commemorates 10 years of advocating on behalf of youth, we are also reflective of our tenure at the Campaign.  Ten years ago we started from scratch, with not even an office to call home, but one thing has remained the same: we continue to be guided by urgency.  There are still too many youth transferred to and prosecuted in the adult criminal justice system.  We aspire to continue changing that.  We have made significant progress and are very proud of our contributions to the work; this year we have celebrated our 10 years of impact. It has been wonderful to be able to celebrate of all the reforms we have been a part of over the past 10 years. Now is a good time to acknowledge all of our accomplishments and to consider new strategies for continuing to build a movement that advances nationwide reforms in removing youth from the adult criminal justice system.

A Mother's Story: Transforming Tragedy into Action

Tracy McClard Tuesday, 11 October 2016 Posted in Voices

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By Tracy McClard, Founder of FORJ Missouri

My involvement with the juvenile justice system began in July of 2007. My son, Jonathon made a poor decision causing another young man to be left with a gunshot wound. Jonathon was sixteen at the time. While I believe my son should have been held accountable for his actions, the process that followed was anything but proportional justice. Jonathan was eventually placed in an adult facility where he experienced violence, emotional trauma and constant fear. At any point in time he could be subjected to physical and sexual violence and was consistently threatened with solitary confinement. Throughout this process Jonathan remained a young sixteen years old and was forced to be surrounded by inmates who were much older and much more powerful. He was forced to give up his education to focus on remaining safe in prison.

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