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2019

Freedom for Whom?

Dana Abed and Ashni Bhojwani, CFYJ Summer Fellows Wednesday, 03 July 2019 Posted in 2019

As the United States approaches its 243rd Independence Day, one reflects on who in our country is entitled to the freedoms of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” that are embedded into our Declaration of Independence?  Are we all truly seen as equals entitled to these unalienable rights? From the inception of U.S. Independence Day, it has been clear that only some Americans are granted such privileges. From the U.S. Constitution’s consideration of slaves to be 3/5 of a person, and the 13th amendment permitting enslavement for the incarcerated, it is clear that our founding fathers didn’t grant everyone freedom.

The U.S. is Torturing Children

Brian Evans, CFYJ State Campaigns Director Wednesday, 26 June 2019 Posted in 2019

Today, June 26, is the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. Here in the U.S., survivors of torture from all over the world have sought asylum and received support and care from groups like the Center for Victims of Torture. The U.S. government even issued a statement today in which Secretary of State Pompeo, with what one presumes is a straight face, asserted: 

“The United States is unambiguous. We never conduct torture, period, full stop.”

Keeping Juvenile Justice at the Center of Reparations

Marion Humphrey, Jr. Friday, 21 June 2019 Posted in 2019

Why the Ongoing Harm to Children of Color in the Criminal Justice System Should Be a Part of the Reparations Discussion

By Marion Humphrey, Jr.

On Juneteeth, June 19, 2019, the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing on H.R. 40, an act to create a commission to study and develop reparation proposals for African-Americans.

As introduced in the The Color of Youth Transferred to the Adult Criminal Justice System: Policy & Practice Recommendations, in the United States, “the vestiges of slavery are embedded in the criminal justice system and codified in the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution: Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

2019 Summer Fellows

Summer Fellows Friday, 14 June 2019 Posted in 2019

Summer is here and CFYJ has a new class of summer fellows! Our 2019 fellow class represents diverse backgrounds from all over the country and have come to Washington this summer with one goal-- to help advance justice for young people. Learn more about their backgrounds and aspirations.  

Pictured left to right: Ashni, Ashley, Francine, and Marion

In Honor Of...

Marcy Mistrett, CEO Thursday, 06 June 2019 Posted in 2019

Today we remember Kalief Browder and the children who sleep in adult jails and prisons every night across the country

By Marcy Mistrett, CEO

Anniversaries can be moments of celebration or they can be reminders of our losses and short-comings.  The exoneration and settlement awarded to of five young men charged with rape, assault, robbery , attempted murder, and rioting  in NY in 2014 juxtaposed to the tragic suicide of Kalief Browder in 2015 underscores this fact.

Today is the 4th anniversary of Kalief Browder’s death; he was 22 years young when he took his life, after spending three years on Rikers Island in New York as a teenager, two of which were spent in solitary confinement.  His story moved a nation—and the state of New York fundamentally changed the way it looked at 16 & 17 year olds in their justice system.

2019 Legislative Reforms After Raise the Age

Brian Evans & Jeree Thomas Monday, 20 May 2019 Posted in 2019

Since 2016, five states, Louisiana, South Carolina, New York, North Carolina, and Missouri, have passed laws to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to age eighteen.  Now, only four states remain with lower ages of juvenile court jurisdiction without laws to raise the age in the near future. Michigan’s legislature recently passed bill packages in the House and the Senate to raise the age. 

Challenging Lengthy Sentences for Youth Prosecuted As Adults in Illinois

Jeree Thomas, CFYJ Policy Director Monday, 06 May 2019 Posted in 2019

Brian Harrington was fourteen-years-old when he was prosecuted as an adult in Illinois and sentenced to twenty-five year under the state’s truth in sentencing law.  On April 11th, his attorney and loved ones presented his clemency petition in the hopes of bringing him home before he spends over half of his life incarcerated.

Free Masonique

By Jeree Thomas. Policy Director Thursday, 02 May 2019 Posted in 2019

On December 7, 2018, an undercover Columbus Police officer shot and killed sixteen-year-old  Julius Ervin Tate Jr. in a sting operation. The police allege that Tate pulled a gun on one of the officers during their exchange, but that claim is under dispute.  A week later, the police arrested sixteen-year-old Masonique Saunders, Tate’s girlfriend, for aggravated robbery and the felony murder of her boyfriend.

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.

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