Location: Richmond, VA
The consequences of an adult conviction are life-long. Da’Quon knows this first hand—when he was arrested at the age of 14 for a felony, he was certified as an adult and sentenced to 48 years, 40 of them suspended. Because of reforms in Virginia, Da'Quon was house in the Department of Juvenile Justice with other youth. At DJJ, Da’Quon became a leader and a voice for the residents; his ability to grow and fully engage in services allowed him to be released after nearly 8 years in prison. After his release, Da’Quon understood the consequences of an adult conviction, as he struggled to get financial aid to attend college. Being tried and sentenced as an adults has a lot of long-lasting consequences for a youth, which range from having a hard time finding a job to never being able to vote or to get education loans. Da’Quon became very involved in the juvenile justice reform movement. Working at Legal Aid as a Community Organizer, he began to grow as an advocate. In addition to being a spokesperson for CFYJ and an outreach worker, he is also part of the Annie E. Casey Foundation Youth Council.