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D.C. Emancipation Day

By Marcy Mistrett, CFYJ CEO Tuesday, 16 April 2019 Posted in 2019

Every April 16, Washingtonians celebrate the anniversary of the day that more than 3,000 of its residents were emancipated from slavery. One-hundred and fifty-seven years after slavery officially ended in the District, the legacy of slavery remains with us in the nation’s capital. Through the halls of Congress and the White House, both erected through the labor of enslaved people to the current lack of representation in the U.S. Congress, we are reminded of the many ways that the residents of the District of Columbia are still fighting for freedom and equality.

OJJDP Data Supports the “Raise the Age Effect”

Hannah Kehrer, CFYJ State & Communications Fellow Tuesday, 26 March 2019 Posted in 2019

At the beginning of the year, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) released multiple new data reports; one specifically highlighting the “Arrest Characteristics of Older Juveniles and Young Adults.” These data points show that since 2008, arrest rates have declined 60% for ages 15–17, 50% for ages 18–20, and 31% for ages 21–24. As states have “Raised the Age” of criminal responsibility to 18 or higher, the arrest rates of 18-20 year olds is also falling faster than other age groups in the adult systems.

Raise the Age Month

Brian Evans, CFYJ State Campaigns Director Monday, 25 March 2019 Posted in 2019

It started on the last day of February, when Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers announced his intention to “Raise the Age” of adult court jurisdiction to 18 as part of his executive budget. By mid-March, all four states that have yet to pass such “Raise the Age” legislation had taken significant actions towards doing so.

Kent v. U.S. 53 Years Later

Hannah Roberts Thursday, 21 March 2019 Posted in 2019

March 21, 2019 marks the 53rd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Kent v. United States.  In Kent, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the juvenile court judge’s cursory consideration of Morris Kent’s case before transferring him to adult court violated DC’s Juvenile Court Act which required “full investigation” as well as fundamental due process.

How Social Workers Help Keep Youth Out of the Adult Criminal Justice System

Jeree Thomas and Marcy Mistrett Tuesday, 19 March 2019 Posted in 2019

March is Social Work Month.  This month we thank and celebrate social workers across the country for the incredible impact they have on the most vulnerable youth and adults in our communities. The categorizes the following key action areas unique to social work:  promoting social change, problem solving in human relationships, and empowering and liberating all people. Given this, it is no surprise that social workers play a vital role in youth justice reform.

A.C.T. to End Racism

Marcy Mistrett Monday, 11 March 2019 Posted in 2019

Many activists and organizers are well versed in the ways that structural racism drives unfair outcomes for youth who come in contact with the law.  It is well documented that despite a near 60% drop in youth incarceration and continued falling arrest rates that in many places racial and ethnic disparities are increasing despite reform efforts.  Youth of color, particularly Black youth, who are charged, incarcerated, and sentenced as adults heavily bear the burden of these disparities. Not only are they treated more harshly than their white counterparts when arrested with the same crimes; but they are sentenced more extremely, often getting longer sentences than adults who commit similar crimes. This is unacceptable.

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Submission

Rachel Marshall Wednesday, 06 March 2019 Posted in 2019

This month, the United Nations’ (U.N.) Human Rights Committee will begin the process for its periodic review of U.S. compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The ICCPR requires state members to enforce a wide range of human rights and was ratified by the U.S. in 1992. While the U.S. often presents itself as a beacon for upholding human rights, past reviews have revealed that the U.S. continues to fail to meet its obligations under the ICCPR. International law, including the ICCPR, recognizes that children in conflict with the law have the right to special protection because of their youth, capacity for change, and the long term detrimental impact that adult criminal punishments can have during a crucial time in their development.

A Day of Empathy, A Week of Faith and Healing

Aprill O. Turner, CFYJ Communications Director Tuesday, 05 March 2019 Posted in 2019

Today is National Day of Empathy and also Juvenile Justice Week of Faith and Healing (JJMWH) and is an opportunity to transform the paradigm of justice; moving from an over reliance on punishment, and taking a deeper look at how we can be a society that practices more empathy and redemption.

Justice Through a New Lens

By Hannah Kehrer, CFYJ Fellow Thursday, 14 February 2019 Posted in 2019

They say a picture says 1000 words, but what about when a picture leaves you speechless? This week, American University hosted Richard Ross’ photo Exhibit “Justice through a New Lens: Reframing Youth Incarceration through Art.”  Throughout the halls of American University’s Public Affairs Department, striking photos filled the walls. Beside each photo was a brief description which only made these images more personal. On the first floor, photographs of youth incarcerated filled the halls. The photo exhibition was a mix of incarcerated youth and adults in their 60s, 70s, and even 80s who were sentenced as juveniles. Children as young as 11 were featured.

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