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Articles tagged with: Act 4 Juvenile Justice (Act4JJ)

Invisible No More: Let’s Make JJDPA Work for Girls

Tuesday, 25 March 2014 Posted in 2014, Voices

By Jeannette Y. Pai-Espinosa

This post is part of the JJDPA Mattersblog, a project of the Act4JJ Campaign with help from SparkAction. The JJDPA, the nation's landmark juvenile justice law, turns 40 this September. Each month leading up to this anniversary, Act4JJ member organizations and allies will post blogs on issues related to the JJDPA.  To learn more and take action in support of JJDPA, visit the Act4JJ JJDPA MattersAction Center, powered by SparkAction.

At the National Crittenton Foundation, we believe in the potential of all girls and young women, particularly those whose childhoods have been marked by persistent violence, abuse, neglect and family dysfunction. The obstacles they face can seem overwhelming, and yet we know that with the right combination of support, services and treatment, they can heal from complex trauma and break destructive generational cycles of poverty to build positive, safe and healthy lives.
 
Sadly, the responses of the systems with which these girls and young women are typically involved, particularly the juvenile justice system, can either “make” or “break” their chances of turning their lives around.
 
Approaches that assess and treat girls early in their involvement with juvenile justice, identify the root causes of the problems they are facing, and create interventions that are gender and culturally responsive and trauma-informed, go a long way toward supporting girls in their success.  These girls have a chance to learn how to address their complex childhood trauma so they can become productive members of society.
 
The truth is that involvement with the juvenile justice system – for girls and for boys – is a wake up call for help.  But the reality is that different factors drive girls and boys into the system.
 
In contrast, systems that treat girls as criminals and blame them for their behavior can do much more harm than good, as these behaviors are typically symptoms of the abuse, violence and neglect they experienced as children. This treatment re-traumatizes girls and places them in a downward spiral from which it is very difficult to recover. Girls whose trauma goes unaddressed become invisible to society, and marginalized from the American dream.
 
For girls, running away is quite often an attempt to escape sexual abuse by a parent, relative, family friend or foster parent,  and yet it often leads to the girls being arrested. Similarly, truancy is often a symptom of a chaotic home environment in which survival must be their priority, which often leads to poor school attendance that can lead to arrest. It is true that some young women end up in the juvenile justice system for aggressive behavior – but this is the exception not the rule.  For girls, early assessment and holistic services and supports that address the factors that drive girls into the system, build their resilience, and support them in healing from trauma would keep the vast majority of girls out of the juvenile justice system.
What We Can Do Now
 
This year, Congress may reauthorize the Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention Act (JJDPA), the nation's landmark juvenile justice law. This presents a critical opportunity to take what we know about helping system-involved girls and make it a reality.  While the importance of gender responsiveness has always been a hallmark of the JJDPA, there is very little evidence of this at work in too many states and communities. Much more can be done to ensure that girls get the right help at the right time and in the right place in all communities across the country.
 
Fortunately, there is strong consensus in the field about how the JJDPA can be strengthened to insure that all youth, including girls, get the help they need to heal and thrive.  Together with the Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality and Public Policy and the Human Rights Project for Girls, we have organized a series of meetings on marginalized girls, one of which was focused on state efforts to meet the needs of girls in the juvenile justice system. This meeting resulted in a comprehensive report – Improving the Juvenile Justice System for Girls: Lessons from the States – on the issues facing girls and recommendations to strengthen the juvenile justice response.
 



Status Offenses Don't Deserve Detention

Monday, 24 March 2014 Posted in 2014, Research & Policy

This post is part of the JJDPA Matters blog, a project of the Act4JJ Campaign with help from SparkAction. The JJDPA, the nation's landmark juvenile justice law, turns 40 this September. Each month leading up to this anniversary, Act4JJ member organizations and allies will post blogs on issues related to the JJDPA. To learn more and take action in support of JJDPA, visit the Act4JJ JJDPA Matters Action Center, powered by SparkAction.

This piece originally appeared on The Hill and is reprinted here with permission.
The event highlighted the need to both reauthorize the Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention Act (JJDPA), and to have an educated judiciary.

On March 12th, I had the chance to speak at a Capitol Hill Roundtable hosted by the National Council on Juvenile and Family Court Judges, in conjunction with the Coalition for Juvenile Justice.

The JJDPA provides core protections for children who come into contact with the juvenile justice system. Unfortunately, Congress has not acted to reauthorize this legislation in more than a decade.

Among the JJDPA’s key provisions is an assurance that children who commit so-called “status offenses” are not placed in secure detention. Status offenses include behaviors such as coming home after curfew, skipping school, and running away from home. They are behaviors that constitute a crime only because the person committing them is younger than 18.

CFYJ and the National PTA: Dedicated to Juvenile Justice Reform

Carmen Daugherty Thursday, 20 March 2014 Posted in 2014, 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.

Why Federal Dollars Matter

Sunday, 13 October 2013 Posted in 2013, Across the Country

 
In celebration of Youth Justice Awareness Month, you have been hearing a lot about successful state efforts to keep kids out of the adult criminal justice system.   You’ve heard personal stories from the field like the one from Tracy McClard, the mom that started it all advocating for reform in Missouri.  You saw the State Trends report from Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ) that highlights positive developments in states like Colorado, Connecticut and Mississippi. 
 
But states are not the only arena for reform.  For nearly four decades, the federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) has been supporting state efforts to build effective justice systems that keep youth out of adult jails and prisons, provide appropriate support for system-involved youth, and invest in strategies to prevent crime and reduce recidivism. 
 
Last month, on the 39th anniversary of the passage of this landmark law, I wrote about why JJDPA matters to the state efforts going on around the country and to the thousands of young people who come in contact with our justice system.  Strong federal policy, like the JJDPA, sets a standard for how system-involved youth should be treated and brings to bear resources to help states achieve that standard.  This helps create a more favorable climate for reform that advocates across the country can leverage. 
 
Whether you are a seasoned state advocate or a young person just starting out, you can use the JJDPA as the basis for advancing policies on the ground.  Whether you want to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction and keep more youth out of adult facilities, reduce racial disparities, or resource alternatives to the more costly and detrimental practices of detention and incarceration, support for these policies are reflected in the JJDPA.
 
What happens at the national level can and does influence what happens in states and communities across the country.  That’s why CFYJ along with other national and state coalition partners in the ACT4JJ Campaign continue to press Congress to reauthorize and adequately fund this important law. 


You can help.  As we all take the month of October to recognize the many advances in states across the country, we encourage you to take a few minutes to check out the JJDPA Matters Action Center and let your national leaders know  you support the JJDPA and related juvenile justice funding.  Let them know that federal policies and programs can be part of the solution for youth in your community. Let them know that the JJDPA matters to you.

Join us this week in continuing the conversation on youth justice issues, follow us on Facebook and Twitter using: 

 

#JJDPAmatters #YJAM #JUSTinvest #youthjustice

 

Investing Smarter: Why We Cannot Afford to Shortchange Juvenile Justice

Thursday, 27 June 2013 Posted in 2013, Federal Update

By Leah Robertson

The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) provides funds to states that follow a series of federal protections, commonly known as the “core protections,” to address the care and treatment of youth in the justice system.  It is a modest, targeted investment that not only helps children but also saves money.  Unfortunately, funding for this law has drastically declined over the last decade and continues to be threatened by spending cuts.

 

This is why a wide array of organizations have been sending letters three days a week for the last eight weeks as part of a Letter-A-Day campaign to urge Senate and House Appropriations Committees to maintain funding for key JJDPA and and related juvenile justice programs.  More than XX letters have been sent so far, and other organizations will continue to send their letters throughout the summer. The diversity and number of organizations dedicated to advocating for this funding demonstrates just how far these monies go and their importance to so many communities.

What do these critical federal dollars support?  The funding being advocated for helps states  protect children at risk of unnecessary damage by the justice system, and save money by reducing crime and keeping youth from entering the far more costly justice system. The value added by investing in our youth for tomorrow is far greater than the price tag today. Meanwhile, the cost of inaction is high. According to a Vera Institute study of 4/5 of states’, taxpayers gave $39 billion to corrections in FY2010, and that number continues to climb nonsensically every year. By supporting a modest federal investment through programs like those supported by the JJPDA monies, we will save money both now by reducing the cost of corrections and in the future by reducing incarceration rates.

Diverting children with little risk of future delinquent behavior to community-based programs where they can participate with their peers in positive behavioral model is right and makes sense. We commend all of the groups that have taken action and those that will take action in the coming weeks to maintain this funding and invest in a smarter and brighter tomorrow.

If you are affiliated with an organization interested in participating in the Letter-A-Day campaign, please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

If you are an individual who would like to get involved, please sign the House and Senate petitions and share these with your family and friends.

We will continue to update you on this critical effort.

New Web Resource to “Promote Safe Communities”

Wednesday, 16 January 2013 Posted in 2013, Across the Country


The National Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Coalition (NJJDPC) is pleased to announce a new web resource “Promote Safe Communities” available at: http://www.promotesafecommunities.org/.  The National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Coalition (NJJDPC) is a collaborative array of youth- and family- serving, social justice, law enforcement, corrections, and faith-based organizations, working to ensure healthy families, build strong communities and improve public safety by promoting fair and effective policies, practices and programs for youth involved or at risk of becoming involved in the juvenile and criminal justice systems.

The website features:


Please post a link to your website in the comments field, and check the website often for action alerts, news updates, and upcoming meeting notices to stay involved with the work of the NJJDPC!

We appreciate your sharing this new resource with your networks!