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Articles tagged with: youth justice

Justice for All

Rachel Marshall Thursday, 12 April 2018 Posted in Voices

By Rachell Marshall, Federal Policy Counsel

From the federal level to state legislatures across the country, criminal justice reform measures are a hot topic of conversation and proposed legislation. What is often lost in those conversations are the views and voices of victims. As an organization that fights to end the prosecution, sentencing, and incarceration of children in the adult system, we are all too aware that children are often times victims of crime and exposed to trauma before they ever get arrested. One young man who was 15 when he began an 8-year sentence in an adult prison for a carjacking said, “It never occurred to me to carry a gun, or use it against someone until someone stuck a gun in my face.” We know that children who come in contact with the justice system have higher rates of exposure to trauma and violence than children who aren’t in contact with the system. We also know that some victims experience trauma not only after a crime has been committed, but also after their experience with the justice system. Further, we know that in many cases, crimes of violence are perpetrated against family members or members of our community--so limiting our response to victims to a carceral one only often does more harm than good. It’s time to take a new, holistic approach to restoring justice and healing in our communities, one that yields outcomes that reduce future offending, not just punishment.

Rev. Laura Downton and CFYJ Fellows Discuss the Dangers of Solitary Confinement

Friday, 15 August 2014 Posted in 2014, Across the Country, Voices

On Wednesday, July 30, the fellows of Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ) held their second Summer Institute session featuring guest speaker Reverend Laura Downton, of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT). Rev. Downton is the current Director of U.S. Prisons Policy & Programs at NRCAT, and she also serves on the Board of Directors for Grassroots Leadership and is a Provisional Elder in the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. The CFYJ fellows were joined by interns from the Justice Policy Institute, Washington Peace Center, and students from American University, Georgetown University, and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, who are current interns in Washington, DC.

Homeboy Industries on Capitol Hill

Friday, 11 July 2014 Posted in 2014, Across the Country, Voices

On July 1st, the Interfaith Criminal Justice Coalition held Lessons from the Field: Protecting Youth and Stopping the Cycle of Incarceration. The event focused on the importance of rehabilitation in the criminal justice system. The speaker was Father Greg Boyle, the founder of Homeboy Industries, an organization that provides wraparound services for former gang members.Homeboy Industries is the biggest program of its kind in the world.

Maryland Adds Another Win for Youth Justice

Friday, 18 April 2014 Posted in 2014, Across the Country, Campaigns

Last week, Just Kids Partnership wrapped up its legislative session, passing two reforms that help youth charged as adults in Maryland. After a quick 90 day session, Maryland advocates built on the momentum from the 2013 legislative session, by getting two bills passed based on recommendations from the Task Force on Juvenile Court Jurisdiction which studied the issue of charging youth as adults in Maryland last year.

March is Juvenile Justice Month of Faith and Healing

Thursday, 13 March 2014 Posted in 2014, Across the Country, Campaigns, Take Action Now

Please consider joining our friends at the Healing Justice Coalition during Juvenile Justice Month of Faith and Healing. The Healing Justice Coalition's initiative is based in California but all are invited to implement these efforts nationwide. For more details, please read their message below: 

The Healing Justice Coalition invites faith communities, schools, and universities to unite in prayer, service and action to raise awareness of the realities of incarcerated youth, victims of crime, and families of both. This takes place at your place of worship or school.

Juvenile Justice Month of Faith and Healing (JJMFH) is an opportunity for deeper insight and reflection through cross-over experiences. The Healing Justice Coalition invites faith leaders to visit incarcerated youth. We also provide speaker panels of formerly incarcerated youth and victims of crimes to visit your places of worship and schools.

Together we can transform the paradigm of justice; moving from an over reliance on punishment, to focusing on healing the wounds caused by crime.

Opportunities for Faith Communities:During JJMFH, The Healing Justice Coalition invites faith leaders to visit youth inside juvenile halls in Los Angeles County to manifest God's love for all children. This is typically a mutually transforming experience; moving and profoundly spiritual for the youth as well as the visiting faith leaders.

Opportunities for Schools and Universities:Through the Healing Justice Coalition, formally incarcerated youth and victims of crime share their journeys  with students. JJMFH is a rich opportunity for students to explore and reflect on the complexities of crime and punishment while moving towards a deeper understanding of restorative justice. 

Participating in Juvenile Justice Month of Faith and Healing is EASY and PROFOUND. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Host a "Voices of Challenge" panel: A formerly incarcerated youth, parent of an incarcerated youth and a survivor/victim of crime share their stories.
  • Invite a formerly incarcerated youth to share insight into the realities of incarceration and the strength of the human spirit.
  • Lead a discussion or seminar in your congregation and/or school about the needs and situations of incarcerated youth and victims of crime.
  • Faith Leaders can sign up for a group pastoral visit to juvenile hall.
  • Offer prayers for everyone who has been impacted by crime; including victims, offenders, and families of both.
  • Mobilize your congregation and/or school in support of legislation that promotes restorative justice principles.      


Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information about participating in Juvenile Justice Month of Faith and Healing and visit the Healing Justice Coalition website for useful resources/templates for your event. 




This Week's #Playground2Prison Snapshot Contest Winner...

Thursday, 31 October 2013 Posted in 2013, Take Action Now

It’s Friday, which means one thing – it’s time to pick the final winner of the #Playground2Prison snapshot contest! Every week, during Youth Justice Awareness Month, people have submitted snapshots telling us why they fight for youth justice. The winning submissions receive, a YJAM goody bag including great YJAM swag: a Childhood Interrupted DVD, YJAM bracelet, Playground to Prison poster, and a YJAM tote.

Trending Now: Youth Justice Reform

Carmen Daugherty Monday, 14 October 2013 Posted in 2013, Across the Country

Twitter users are familiar with Worldwide Trends--popular hashtags of the moment. Fashion aficionados know what’s trending for each season.  Trend analysis usually predicts what will happen in the future with consideration of the past. How do advocates, families, and youth make “youth justice” a trend? 

On October 10th, CFYJ will release State Trends Legislative Victories from 2011-2013 Removing Youth from the Adult Criminal Justice System which examines the accomplishments of states that enacted laws to keep kids out of the adult criminal justice system.  The trend is towards more humane and appropriate treatment of kids in the criminal justice system, yet there is still much work to be done in order to have a justice system that recognizes that kids are different and deserve a chance at rehabilitation over severe sanctions.

This Week's #Playground2Prison Snapshot Contest Winner...

Friday, 11 October 2013 Posted in 2013, Take Action Now


It’s Friday, which means one thing – it’s time to pick this week’s winner of the #Playground2Prison snapshot contest! Every week, during Youth Justice Awareness Month, the winner of the snapshot contest will receive a YJAM goody bag including great YJAM swag: a Childhood Interrupted DVD, YJAM bracelet, Playground to Prison infographic poster, and a YJAM tote.
 

We received some great snapshots from this year’s first YJAM event at a happy hour fundraiser in DC. Guests posed with posters created by the Campaign for Youth Justice’s fellows and made signs indicating why they believe we need youth justice reform.
 

                                                This week’s winner is Marcus Bullock!

 
 

We want to congratulate Marcus on his awesome snapshot demonstrating his support for ending #Playground2Prison and on receiving YJAM swag.
 

There are still 3 more chances to win your own YJAM swag this year! Submit photos to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on Facebook or Twitter. Don’t forget to include #Playground2Prison so that your snapshot will be considered for the winning photo of the week.
 

For more information about Youth Justice Awareness Month (YJAM), please visit our website: www.cfyj.org  and join the conversation online: #YJAM #youthjustice

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

Jessica Sandoval Tuesday, 08 October 2013 Posted in 2013, 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

Submit your #Playground2Prison Snapshot and Win YJAM Swag! Winners Selected Every Friday in October!

Angella Bellota Thursday, 03 October 2013 Posted in 2013, Take Action Now


Youth Justice Awareness Month (YJAM) is in full swing! Throughout October, local partners will be hosting YJAM events raising awareness and taking action to end the incarceration of kids in the adult criminal justice system. 

To continue awareness efforts, CFYJ wants to give you a chance to walk away with some YJAM swag! Whether you’re attending a YJAM event in your state or if you’re following the YJAM actions online, we want everyone to have a chance to take action during Youth Justice Awareness Month! 


Check out the details on how to participate:    

  1. Using the hashtag, #Playground2Prison with your snapshot – share your thoughts on why its time to end #Playground2Prison:
    • Tell us why you believe its time for youth justice reform
    • Tell us how you or your community have taken action to improve the lives of youth
    • Highlight a statistic/reason youth should not be placed in the adult system 
    •  Tell us why you decided to take action during YJAM this year

     2.   Submit your snapshot:  

 
    • As an email, to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Need messages for your #Playground2Prison snapshot? Let us know and we can send you templates! 

Remember to get creative! Each week Campaign for Youth Justice will select a winning photo and send that person their very own YJAM goody bag! Show your support for youth justice reform and join us in ending the #Playground2Prison. 

 

For more information about Youth Justice Awareness Month, click HERE