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2017 Press Releases

Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Federal Juvenile Justice Law Introduced in Congress

Posted in 2017 Press Releases

Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Federal Juvenile Justice Law Introduced in Congress

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

March 30, 2017


H.R. 1809 is first step in effort to finish unfinished business from last year to reauthorize and strengthen the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA)

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, bipartisan legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to strengthen and update the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 (JJDPA).  H.R. 1809, introduced by Representative[JW1]  Jason Lewis (R-MN) and Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA), reflect the commitment of this new Congress to complete unfinished business left over from last year and ensure that this landmark law is renewed. 

Last year, similar legislation was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives, 382-29, and a nearly identical bipartisan bill was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Efforts to approve final legislation in the closing days of the 114th Congress were not successful.

“Today’s action reaffirms the bipartisan commitment to this successful law, which – for more than 40 years – has strengthened states’ ability to keep children and youth out of the justice system, protect those young people in custody, and advance evidence-based practices to help youth get back on track and keep communities safe,” said Marcy Mistrett, Co-chair of the ACT4JJ Campaign and CEO of the Campaign for Youth Justice.  “We applaud the steadfast leadership of Representatives Lewis and Scott for making renewal of this law a priority in the first session of the 115th Congress.”

Signed into law by President Gerald Ford on September 7, 1974, and most recently reauthorized in 2002, the JJDPA embodies an important state-federal partnership that serves to protect children and youth in the juvenile and criminal justice system, to effectively address high-risk and delinquent behavior, and to improve community safety. 

"We're pleased to see that the JJDPA continues to be a priority for Congress in 2017 and are grateful for all of the hard work that has gone into this bill's introduction,” said Naomi Smoot, Co-Chair of the ACT4JJ Campaign and Executive Director of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice.  “Reauthorizing the JJDPA makes sense socially and fiscally, and we are hopeful that the legislation will become law soon."

More than nine years overdue for reauthorization, the JJDPA is the only federal statute that sets out national standards for the custody and care of youth in the juvenile justice system and provides direction and support for state juvenile justice system improvements.

H.R. 1809 would build upon these national standards by reducing the placement of youth in adult jails pre-trial, providing more structure to the law’s requirement to decrease racial and ethnic disparities, and calling on states to phase out exceptions that allow the detention of youth who have engaged in status offense behaviors.  The bill also promotes the use of alternatives to incarceration; supports the implementation of trauma-informed, evidence-based practices; calls for the elimination of dangerous practices in confinement, including the use of restraints on pregnant girls; improves conditions and educational services for incarcerated youth; focuses on the particular needs of special youth population such as trafficked youth and Tribal youth; and increases accountability.

For more information go to www.ACT4JJ.org

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About Act 4 Juvenile Justice - Act 4 Juvenile Justice (ACT4JJ) is a campaign of the National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Coalition (NJJDPC), which represents over 80 national organizations who work on youth development and juvenile justice issues. ACT4JJ is composed of juvenile justice, child welfare and youth development organizations advocating for the reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) and increased federal funding for juvenile justice programs and services.

Campaign for Youth Justice Partners with Flikshop to Give Incarcerated Dads Extra Love this Father’s Day

Posted in 2017 Press Releases

Campaign for Youth Justice Partners with Flikshop to Give Incarcerated Dads Extra Love this Father’s Day

WASHINGTON (June 15, 2017) -- The Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ) has partnered with Flikshop, a mobile app that connects families with their incarcerated loved ones via personalized postcards. The two organizations have joined forces to help incarcerated fathers receive mail from their children this Father's Day season.

"Being a father has been the greatest blessing of my life, so I couldn't imagine what the fathers in prison are going through with not being able to see their children," says Marcus Bullock, CEO of Flikshop.  “Most of the teens in my classroom at New Beginnings [Youth Detention Facility in Maryland] can tell you a story of how they once wrote a letter to their dad that was locked up. The first thing I tell them is that I’ve been locked up and my father was locked up when I was younger too. I am happy that we can work with the Campaign for Youth Justice to get Flikshop in the hands of more people to help connect fathers and children this Father's Day."

The partnership enables CFYJ to give away Flikshop credits to families across the country that have an incarcerated father. CFYJ sponsors the credit, allowing families who download the mobile app to send a postcard for free.

Research shows that 2.7 million children, around half of who are under ten, have a parent in jail or prison. Experts are recognizing this data as an“adverse childhood experience”which can increase the likelihood of health and social problems as an adult.

Flikshop helps reduces the isolation that a family feels from their loved one while they are in prison. During this special time of year for fathers, a simple Flikshop credit can give children the chance to join in with their peers in celebrating, sending any father in any correctional facility a Flikshop postcard.

"The Campaign is happy work on this worthwhile initiative with Flikshop. Being incarcerated can be very lonely and since every father and child cannot be together on Father's Day, we want to do what we can to help foster some type of connection, "said Marcy Mistett CFYJ CEO. “We thank Flikshop for offering this opportunity and we are hoping that it will be fully taken advantage of to show incarcerated men that they are being missed and being thought of."

Information on how to download the Flikshop App can be found here. Please use the code "CFYJ" to access free credits. 

About the Campaign For Your Justice:
The Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ) is a national initiative focused entirely on ending the practice of prosecuting, sentencing, and incarcerating youth under the age of 18 in the adult criminal justice system. For additional information, visit www.cfyj.org.

About Flikshop:
Flikshop is a mobile app created to connect those that are incarcerated with their families in order to support their re-entry into society. For additional information, visit https://www.flikshop.com

 


 

CFYJ Board Welcomes Two New Members

Posted in 2017 Press Releases

The Campaign for Youth Justice is happy to announce our newest members to the Board of Directors, Jorja Leap and René Bryce-Laporte.

Jorja Leap has been a member of the UCLA faculty since 1992. As a trained anthropologist and recognized expert in crisis intervention and trauma response, she has worked nationally and internationally in violent and post-war settings. Dr. Leap has been involved with training and research for the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe as part of post-war development and conflict resolution in Bosnia and Kosovo. Closer to home, she worked with the families of victims of the 9/11 WTC disaster. Since that time, Dr. Leap has focused on gangs, youth development, juvenile and criminal justice, and reentry at the local, national and international level.  

René Bryce-Laporte is an experienced advocate, convener, facilitator, program designer, trainer, technical assistance provider and director of multi-site programs advancing social and economic opportunity for low-wealth individuals in America. Over nearly 17 years, he has developed significant and varied experience and contacts in the poverty-alleviation field. René serves as an independent consultant with expertise in workforce development, asset-building, financial education, strategic planning and meeting coordination and facilitation. René serves on the Board of Directors of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation. Before launching his consultancy, René served with Skills for America's Future (SAF), an initiative of the Aspen Institute. SAF promotes and encourages partnerships between business and community colleges to match education and training to jobs. He previously served as a Senior Associate at the Community Strategies Group at Aspen Institute working on asset-building, rural community development and collaborations with community foundations. Previously, René served as Financial Education Specialist at the now-defunct Pennsylvania Office of Financial Education, working with community-based financial education providers, public and private agencies, and Pennsylvania residents. 

 

About the Campaign For Youth Justice:
The Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ) is a national initiative focused entirely on ending the practice of prosecuting, sentencing, and incarcerating youth under the age of 18 in the adult criminal justice system. For additional information, please visit www.cfyj.org.

Congratulations to New York on Raising The Age

Posted in 2017 Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 
April 10, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ) welcomes the news that legislation to Raise the Age of criminal responsibility in New York from 16 to 18 has been passed as part of NY’s Executive Budget. Governor Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Heastie, and Senate Majority Leader Flanagan, worked extended hours to ensure that raise the age passed as part of the Executive Budget.

“This legislation will keep more young people out of the dangerous adult criminal justice system," said Marcy Mistrett, CEO at the Campaign for Youth Justice. “It will also lead to better outcomes for public safety, as children who retain access to the educational and rehabilitative programs of the juvenile justice system are known to have significantly lower rates of recidivism than those who are tried and punished as adults. Given the presumption of family court origination for the vast majority of youth, the removal of youth from adult facilities, and the youth-part that allows case by case review, this is one of the strongest raise the age bills passed to date.”

The Campaign for Youth Justice congratulates the hundreds of advocates across the state who organized the efforts to ensure this remained one of the Governor’s priorities, including the tenacious leadership from the Children’s Defense Fund, the Citizens Committee for Children and the Correctional Association of New York.

New York looks to join the growing list of states that have embraced this common-sense reform, which includes Connecticut, Massachusetts, Illinois, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Louisiana, and South Carolina.  Missouri, and Texas already have similar legislation pending this year.  They are joined by North Carolina, which is the only state left who sets 16 as the age of criminal responsibility.

As a recent report published by the Justice Policy Institute makes clear, states that have implemented Raise the Age legislation have seen juvenile crime rates fall, while feared costs have failed to materialize. CFYJ commends New York state legislative leadership, Speaker Flanagan, and Governor Cuomo for this achievement. There is a reason this reform has gained such traction across party lines and in all parts of the country. It is good for youth, good for public safety, and it works.

 

About the Campaign For Youth Justice:
The Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ) is a national initiative focused entirely on ending the practice of prosecuting, sentencing, and incarcerating youth under the age of 18 in the adult criminal justice system.

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Major Cities Chiefs Association Approves Policy Statement on Removing Youth from the Adult Criminal Justice System

Posted in 2017 Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 8, 2017

Contact:
Campaign for Youth Justice
Aprill Turner, Communications Director
Phone: (202) 821-1604
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Major Cities Chiefs Association
Darrel Stephens, Executive Director
Phone: 704-814-7378
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

On May 31, 2017, the Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA), a professional organization of police executives representing 69 of the largest cities in the United States and 10 of the largest cities in Canada, adopted a formal policy statement on the treatment of youth in the adult criminal justice system.   

The policy statement highlights key issues with the treatment of youth as adults, specifically, the prevalent research on the impact of adolescent brain development and adverse childhood experiences on the decision making process, behavior, and rehabilitative capacity of youth who come into contact with the system.  The policy statement also cites the high rates of sexual and physical victimization for youth in adult jails and prisons, and the 34 percent increased likelihood that youth will reoffend if they are prosecuted as adults rather than juveniles. 

In its policy position section, MCCA states that “[j]uvenile courts should have original jurisdiction over youth under the age of 18 for matters involving delinquent behavior.  Youth under the age of 18 should not be automatically transferred to the jurisdiction of the adult court based solely on their age…There should be a strong presumption that juvenile courts have original and exclusive jurisdiction over youth under the age of 18 unless evidence to the contrary is presented to the court by the prosecuting attorney.”

The statement continues that “[t]o the extent possible under the law youth should be held in juvenile justice facilities instead of adult facilities.  There should be a strong presumption that youth can be held in juvenile facilities unless evidence to the contrary is presented to the court by the prosecuting attorney.”

Marcy Mistrett, CEO and President of the Campaign for Youth Justice, a national campaign dedicated to the removal of youth under 18 from adult courts, jails, and prisons applauded MCCA’s strong stance.  “I really commend the membership of the Major Cities Chiefs Association for their strong position on youth in the adult system.  This statement is proof that law enforcement, community, advocates, and other stakeholders can collaborate and come to consensus on effective strategies to rehabilitate youth and to keep our communities safe.   I hope other stakeholders will come to the table on youth justice and follow the strong example they MCCA has set on this issue.” 

Darrel Stephens, Executive Director of MCCA said, “The evidence was clear to MCCA members that youth are not well served in the adult criminal justice system.  The policy recognizes that while providing for access to the adult system based on an assessment of the individual need of the youth.”

For more information go to:  www.majorcitieschiefs.com  and www.campaignforyouthjustice.org

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Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA) is a professional association of Chiefs and Sheriffs representing the largest cities in the United States and Canada. MCCA membership is comprised of Chiefs and Sheriffs of the sixty-nine largest law enforcement agencies in the United States and ten largest in Canada. They serve 81.9 million people (70.4 US and 11.5 Canada) with a workforce of 185,183 (163,244 US and 21,939 Canada) officers and non-sworn personnel. MCCA was formed in 1949 to provide a forum for executives to share ideas, experiences and strategies for addressing the challenges of policing large urban communities

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The Campaign for Youth Justice, based in Washington, DC, is dedicated to ending the practice of trying, sentencing, and incarcerating youth under 18 in the adult criminal justice system.

New Report Highlights Shift in Policy to "Raise The Age" of Juvenile Court Jurisdiction

Posted in 2017 Press Releases

New Report Highlights Shift in Policy to

In The Last Ten Years, Juvenile Crime Has Declined and Juvenile Corrections Costs Stabilized in States That Have Raised The Age  

WASHINGTON (March 7, 2017) — A new report shows that over the past decade, half of the states that had previously excluded all 16- and/or 17-year-olds from juvenile court based solely on their age absorbed these young people into the youth justice system without significantly increasing taxpayer costs, and the number of youth in the adult system nationwide was nearly cut in half.

According to a new report issued today by the Justice Policy Institute, "Raising the Age: Shifting to a Safer and More Effective Juvenile Justice System", while there were dire predictions that states that “raised the age” would be overwhelmed, by shifting to better practices, these states kept young people safe, enhanced public safety, and effectively managed  taxpayer dollars.

Since 2007, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, and South Carolina have all passed laws to raise the age. In 2017, each of the seven remaining states—Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin—are considering some type of legislative proposal that would raise the age from 17 and/or 16 years of age to 18 years of age.

“The seven states considering proposals to raise the age this year can move youth from the adult court, jails and prisons into the youth justice system, safe in the knowledge that they can make the change without significantly increasing costs, and keep youth and communities safer,” said Marc Schindler, Executive Director, Justice Policy Institute.

Before Connecticut, Illinois and Massachusetts absorbed 16-or-17-year-olds into their youth justice system, there were dire predictions that the change would overwhelm the courts and youth corrections. Instead, taxpayer costs were kept in check and juvenile crime continued to fall.  

“This report highlights the impressive impact of raising the age to 18 in states; and is a call to action for other states contemplating reforms this legislative session," said Marcy Mistrett, CEO of the Campaign for Youth Justice. "Raising the Age helps reduce costly commitments, makes communities safer by providing youth with age appropriate services that gets them back on track, and promotes fairness by helping states and localities develop more effective justice systems.”

States that raised the age avoided fears that the youth justice system would be overwhelmed for a number of reasons, including that the fiscal impact statements offered by stakeholders in Connecticut, Illinois, and Massachusetts were limited and did not project true expenditure trends.  Youth justice systems also managed the change by shifting to more cost effective practices that are more likely to help a young person move past delinquency and reduce the chances a youth will reoffend, including reduced reliance on confinement.

A major reason why states are raising the age is to keep youth safe.

Youth incarcerated in an adult facility are the group most at risk of sexual assault. Sheriffs, along with juvenile and adult corrections officials have called on lawmakers to raise the age to keep youth safe and avoid building new adult jails and prisons, and comply with federal laws, such as the Prison Rape Elimination Act.


About Justice Policy Institute:
JPI is dedicated to reducing the use of incarceration and the justice system by promoting fair and effective policies. For more JPI publications on the justice system, visit www.justicepolicy.org.

About the Campaign For Youth Justice:
The Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ) is a national initiative focused entirely on ending the practice of prosecuting, sentencing, and incarcerating youth under the age of 18 in the adult criminal justice system. For additional information, please visit www.cfyj.org.

U. S. House Approves Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Federal Juvenile Justice Law - Passage Comes Same Day President Trump Releases FY18 Budget Proposal

Posted in 2017 Press Releases

U. S. House Approves Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Federal Juvenile Justice Law - Passage Comes Same Day President Trump Releases FY18 Budget Proposal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

May 23, 2017        

Contact:

Campaign for Youth Justice
Aprill Turner
Phone: (202) 821-1604 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Coalition for Juvenile Justice
Naomi Smoot
Phone: (202) 467-0864 ext.113; Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives approved by voice vote, H.R. 1809, bipartisan legislation to strengthen and update the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 (JJDPA).

Signed into law by President Gerald Ford on September 7, 1974, and most recently reauthorized in 2002, the JJDPA embodies a partnership between the federal government and the U.S. states, territories and the District of Columbia to protect children and youth in the juvenile and criminal justice system, to effectively address high-risk and delinquent behavior and to improve community safety. 

“Today’s historic action by the U.S. House of Representatives reaffirms Congress’ bi-partisan commitment to this successful law, which – for more than 40 years – has set out national standards for the custody and care of youth in the juvenile justice system and provides direction and support for state juvenile justice system improvements that help advance public safety,” said Naomi Smoot, Executive Director of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice and Co-chair of the Act4JJ Campaign. 

The bill was introduced on April 4, 2017, by Rep. Jason Lewis (R-MN) and Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) and is co-sponsored by Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-MN) and 20 other members of the U.S. House of Representatives.  The Senate’s version of the bill, S. 860, has been introduced and is sponsored by Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI); they are joined by 9 other bipartisan co-sponsors.

Earlier today, President Donald Trump released, “A New Foundation for American Greatness,” his 2018 budget proposal.  Overall, the proposed budget dramatically cuts discretionary funding and safety nets to vulnerable children and families.

Federal support of key juvenile justice programs has declined to the lowest levels in more than a decade, effecting states’ ability to serve youth.  While cuts to federal juvenile justice programs have slowed in recent years, the President’s budget further reduces overall spending on juvenile justice from $273 million in FY17 to $229.5 million for FY18

“The importance of the continued federal investment in children and families cannot be overstated,” said Marcy Mistrett, CEO at the Campaign for Youth Justice and Co-chair of the Act4JJ Coalition, “Over the past decade, this critical federal-state partnership on juvenile justice reform has helped states reduce our over-reliance on youth incarceration, support children in their homes, and communities, and invest in proven strategies that improve public safety. As a result, youth crime is at its lowest in four decades.”

While juvenile justice funding didn’t suffer the extent of cuts that other critical federal programs face, the overall budget proposal is cause for concern. Programs that serve some of our nation’s most vulnerable children and youth in the justice system are aligned with other federal discretionary programs that are being subject to harsh cuts; programs that help prevent children from coming in contact with the law. These cuts threaten the progress that our nation has made on behalf of children and puts children at risk.

For more information go to www.ACT4JJ.org

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About Act 4 Juvenile Justice - Act 4 Juvenile Justice (ACT4JJ) is a campaign of the National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Coalition (NJJDPC), which represents over 80 national organizations who work on youth development and juvenile justice issues. ACT4JJ is composed of juvenile justice, child welfare and youth development organizations advocating for the reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) and increased federal funding for juvenile justice programs and services.

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