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Jessica Sandoval

Jessica Sandoval

Jessica Sandoval, MPA, the Campaign’s Vice President and Deputy Director; is responsible for the development and implementation of organizational priorities, developing and monitoring evaluation systems that ensure effective strategies and programs, and strategic planning and partnerships. As a founding staff member of the organization, she created the Campaign’s communications infrastructure, delivered technical assistance to state campaign partners and led several initiatives that engaged those who oppose prosecuting youth as adults, including affected families and incarcerated youth in reform efforts.

Jessica's career began over 20 years ago in her home state, Colorado, where she worked as the Program Director for the Gang Rescue and Support Project – an organization targeting gang-involved youth in Denver. Ms. Sandoval spent ten years as a volunteer advocate member of the Colorado Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Council. She was originally appointed to the position by former Colorado Governor Roy R. Romer and then re-appointed by former Colorado Governor Bill Owens.

Prior to joining the Campaign for Youth Justice, Ms. Sandoval served as the Program Associate at the National League of Cities’ Institute for Youth, Education, and Families, where she was responsible for providing program and research support in areas related to the needs of out-of-school youth, youth in the juvenile justice and/or foster care systems, and other, older young adults who are not connected to school, work, or caring adults. She has served as the Juvenile Justice Federal Policy Coordinator at the Center for Youth as Resources – a national youth development program – and she was formerly the Policy and Resource Development Specialist for a national youth advocacy group, Coalition for Juvenile Justice. She was recently appointed to serve as a member of the Children and Youth Investment Trust Board of Directors. She also serves a member of the board with the Lagniappe Education Foundation and the Free Minds Book Club and Writing Workshop.

Jessica graduated with a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Colorado at Denver. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services, from Metropolitan State College of Denver.

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.

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 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.

A Spotlight on Colorado’s Reform Efforts: A sneak peek into our upcoming State Trends Report

Jessica Sandoval Tuesday, 08 October 2013 Posted in Across the Country

During the second week of Youth Justice Awareness Month (YJAM) CFYJ will take a look back at the reform efforts that improve the lives of youth by decreasing the chances that they would come into contact with the adult criminal court.  Here at CFYJ our mission is just that, and we partner with state organizations, advocates, youth and families to launch and win state legislative campaigns for youth justice.

In the years at CFYJ, I have had the pleasure of working with many states to organize campaigns for juvenile justice reform to remove youth from adult court.  The work has been tedious, exciting, rewarding and challenging.  It is all worth it because we know from the research that youth in adult court are 34% more likely to recidivate at higher rates than those retained in the juvenile court.  At the Campaign for Youth Justice we have worked diligently to create our campaign model to be successful in states where there is interest in building grassroots campaigns.  We provide a myriad of technical assistance options to our partners such as, campaign planning, policy assistance, coalition building support, media assistance and training, hearing preparation, policy and political analysis.  We know that the research supports our mission and we believe after 8 years of state based campaign work that the trends emerging are not by accident. On October 10th, we will be releasing our latest State Trends report which examines the states who have in the past several years changed state policies to remove youth from the adult court.

Colorado is no stranger to these successes.  In 1993, I was living in Colorado when the state expanded their laws to prosecute youth more harshly.  It happened during a special legislative session to address a crime wave.  This effort was led by then District Attorney Bill Ritter.  Fifteen years later, in 2008 when the legislature passed a significant direct file reform bill, it was vetoed by Governor Ritter. It was tragic, but we were hopeful that with a new Governor coming into office we could do it again. 

In 2011, with families and youth, good data, media, an engaged coalition, and a skilled organizer we were ready to engage in a major campaign to end direct file.  Building community support, strong spokespeople and legislative champions were all priorities.  Our role in the campaign was to provide policy and media support as well as support the organizer of the Colorado campaign housed at the Colorado Juvenile Defender Coalition.  There were two major pieces of legislation introduced, House Bill 1139, a jail removal bill and House Bill 1271, the direct file reform bill.  HB 1139 was passed and signed into law in March 2012 helping to drive the energy needed to pass HB 1271.  The bill was hotly contested and debated.  On April 20, 2012 Governor Hickenlooper signed HB 1271 into law.  Victory!

Having been involved with this effort since 2009, I believe that the strong organizing effort with communities, youth and families, in addition to good data, incredible legislative champions and influential coalition members made this Colorado campaign a success. I was happy to have Colorado lead these efforts and I encourage other states to consider doing the same.  If you are a state that is considering doing a reform campaign I urge you to contact us.  We are happy to help!

To continue following other state reforms during the month of October, continue to visit CFYJ's blog and to engage in our social media campaign check us out on Facebook and Twitter using #statetrends #youthjustice #YJAM

In solidarity,

Jessica

Family Engagement Listening Sessions Report Just Released!

Jessica Sandoval Monday, 05 August 2013 Posted in Uncategorised

On Thursday, July 30, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency (OJJDP) released the much anticipated Family Listening Sessions Executive Summary, available online.

In 2011, OJJDP worked in partnership with the Campaign for Youth Justice on a series of listening sessions with families whose children have been impacted by the juvenile and criminal justice systems.  Sixteen states were represented from every region in the country. The purpose of these sessions was to inform OJJDP about the experiences of system-involved youth and their families and to explore ways to improve family engagement to ensure better outcomes for children, youth and families. Thanks to all of the family members who participated in this process, your time and contribution was invaluable to this process.

We applaud OJJDP for their commitment to make family engagement a priority for the agency and for the country. We hope that with these listening sessions and the release of the Family Comes First Report that the issue of family engagement will not be a sideline issue in the immediate future.  To access the Executive Summary, abstract and Family Comes First workbook, please use the links below.

Family Engagement Listening Sessions Executive Summary:
http://www.ojjdp.gov/pubs/241379.pdf

Family Engagement Listening Sessions Abstract:
http://www.ojjdp.gov/publications/PubAbstract.asp?pubi=263469

Family Comes First: A Workbook to Transform the Justice System by Partnering with Families: http://www.campaignforyouthjustice.org/family-comes-first.html

State of Maryland Abandons the Construction of New Baltimore City Jail For Youth Charged as Adults!!

Jessica Sandoval Wednesday, 23 January 2013 Posted in Uncategorised

Baltimore Rally 6.17.10196Congratulations to the Maryland Advocates on this tremendous VICTORY!! It was announced on Thursday, January, 17th that the state, according to Gov. Martin O'Malley's proposed budget, will not put any money toward the construction of a Baltimore jail for juveniles charged as adults. Instead, the Maryland Department of Juvenile announced an alternative plan, which includes renovating a smaller existing facility that meets national standards for youth in confinement.

Advocates have been opposing the construction of a new youth jail for youth charged as adults for nearly three years. Congratulations to the wonderful organizers Kara Aanenson and Rashad Hawkins from the Just Kids Partnership, CLIA and Advocates for Children and Youth!