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Across the Country

Understanding the School to Prison Pipeline

Tuesday, 12 August 2014 Posted in 2014, Across the Country

CFYJ’s first Summer Institute session focused on the School to Prison Pipeline. Kaitlin Banner, a staff attorney at the Advancement Project, informed us about youth whose futures are being destroyed by a system that pushes them from the education system to the prison system. Additionally, she emphasized ways to dismantle this pipeline, and taught us essential tools to become true advocates for change.

Youth Justice Awareness Month 2014 is just around the corner!

Friday, 01 August 2014 Posted in 2014, Across the Country, Take Action Now, Voices

We are so excited for this year’s Youth Justice Awareness Month (YJAM)!

Every October, youth, families, and advocates from all over the nation come together to host YJAM events to expose the consequences of children being prosecuted in the adult criminal justice system and incarcerated in adult jails and prisons. Together, we build collective action to launch and support local campaigns that work towards fair, humane, and effective reform.

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.

JOY Campaign and Allies Raise Awareness on the Criminalization of DC Youth

Thursday, 03 July 2014 Posted in 2014, Across the Country, Campaigns, Voices

On Thursday, June 26, Judge Our Youth (JOY) Campaign advocates - Campaign for Youth Justice, DC Lawyers for Youth, and other allies, joined Black Youth Project 100, the DC chapter of the Black Youth Project, for a peaceful demonstration at the District's Central Detention Facility. The event focused on raising awareness of the criminalization of black youth in DC and is part of BYP’s larger campaign, the #CriminalizedLives Project, which seeks to collect stories from people that have been impacted by the criminal justice system, and specifically, the experiences of youth with law enforcement.

CFYJ is Bringing Reform to the District of Columbia!

Thursday, 05 June 2014 Posted in 2014, Across the Country, Campaigns

In May 2014, Campaign for Youth Justice, working in partnership with DC Lawyers for Youth (DCLY), published a report titled, Capital City Correction: Reforming DC's Use of Adult Incarceration Against Youth.  The report explains how youth enter the adult system in DC, summarizes data on the number of youth tried as adults each year, and provides policy recommendations that would restore balance to the District's process for trying youth as adults.

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.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Friday, 04 April 2014 Posted in 2014, Across the Country

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, otherwise known as SAAM. A very serious issue, sexual assault affects everyone regardless of age, gender, orientation, class or race; sadly, almost 1 in 2women and 1 in 5 men have experienced sexual violence at some point in their lives. We, at the Campaign For Youth Justice, whole heartedly urge you to start a dialogue with those around you during the month about sexual violence. A key part to elimnating sexual violence from society is acknowledging that it can and does happen. Leading statisticians agree that the numbers on sexual violence underestimate the problem because many victims do not tell the police, family, or friends about the violence.
            The roots of the movement can be traced back to the late 1970’s England and the “TakeBack The Night” (TBTN) marches. Originally organized as a reaction to events of violence perpetrated against women on the streets of English cities, these female-only protests found their way over to America in 1978. As the movement grew, coordinators sought out a month to pay special attention raise special awareness about violence done to women; eventually members of the movement coalesced around the idea of selecting October to be the month to focus on violence against women issues. Slowly October became the focus of Domestic Violence Awareness activities. Advocates of sexual assault awareness soon sought another month to highlight the issues surrounding sexual assault arriving on this month, April.

 

For more information having to do with youths and for youths about sexual assault please visit the SAAM page on the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) website. There you will find videos, statistics and more resources about the Sexual Assault Awareness month campaign.    

 

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. 




Baltimore: Youths in adult jail face higher risk, longer wait for trial

Friday, 07 February 2014 Posted in 2014, Across the Country


Recently ABC2 (Baltimore) explored the fine line between rehabilitation and punishment in Maryland:

For thousands of teens accused of crimes, punishment precedes any conviction in court. While awaiting trial and ostensibly presumed innocent, they can be held for months or even years in county jails for -- and sometimes with -- adult suspects.
 
Federal law aims to shield youths from extended detention and from physical or psychological abuse by adult inmates. But the protection does not apply to suspects 17 and younger sent to adult court to be tried for serious offenses such as assault, rape or murder. Youth advocates say this exemption amounts to a major loophole.

 Click here for the full story and video segment.

(ABC2 Baltimore)



Human Rights Day 2013: Making U.S. Children Behind Bars a Priority

Monday, 09 December 2013 Posted in 2013, Across the Country

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By Liz Ryan

Several times a year, our organization meets with delegations of juvenile justice experts from around the world.  We always start the conversation with a show of hands.  How many of your countries prosecute children in adult criminal court? How many of your countries put children in adult jails and adult prisons? How many of your countries sentence children to decades behind bars or life in prison without the possibility of parole? My hand is always the only one raised in response to these questions.

As we share our orange wristband bearing the message, "Join the Movement for Youth Justice" with these experts, we tell them about the 100,000 children who languish in adult jails and prisons and the 250,000 children prosecuted in adult criminal court every year.  We share the astronomical statistics about the $6 billion the U.S. spends to incarcerate children in the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems every year and the grim facts on the inhumane conditions of confinement that children are exposed to in the justice system.

I always see the same look of shock on their faces. They tell us that they had not heard any of this from their U.S. State Department hosts on their trip to date. "I'm not surprised," I tell them.  Their State Department Hosts reflect a common thread in American society: a view that the U.S. is the beacon of human rights, and other countries must measure up to the U.S.  The U.S. does not abuse human rights, especially not when it comes to children.  Rather, the U.S. is the human rights standard bearer and will withhold foreign aid when other countries violate human rights.

In reality, the U.S. is number one when it comes to children in the justice system, but not because we have the highest standards in the world.  The U.S. is the world's leader in the incarceration of children.  We stand out above the rest as the only country in the world that routinely prosecutes children in adult criminal court and places children in adult jails and prisons, where they are the most at-risk of violence, sexual assault, and suicide.  For the youth who are convicted in adult criminal court, the consequences are serious, negative, life-long, and in some cases, deadly.

On this Human Rights Day 2013, we must remember the children in the United States who languish behind bars in juvenile detention centers, juvenile prisons, adult jails and adult prisons.

U.S. policy and state laws do not adequately protect these children from harm or ensure rehabilitative programs or regular access to their families.  And, the United States does not adhere to international human rights conventions - such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) - that would protect the human rights of the children in the justice system.

The good news is that the American public strongly rejects the incarceration of children. According to the latest polls, they favor their rehabilitation and treatment.  Americans overwhelmingly oppose the placement of youth in adult jails and prisons, and strongly favor individualized determinations on a case-by-case basis by juvenile court judges in the juvenile justice system rather than automatic prosecution in adult criminal court.

It is past time to recognize that we are not a world leader when it comes to the human rights of children in the juvenile and criminal justice systems.  We lag behind the rest of the world.  Rather than always focusing on taking other countries to task for their human rights abuses, U.S. officials and state policymakers must focus on addressing the human rights of children in the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems here at home.

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