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Across the Country

Kavanaugh Hearings: Justice Kennedy Was a Voice of Reason on Youth Justice, Now What?

Brian Evans Wednesday, 05 September 2018 Posted in 2018, Across the Country

By Brian Evans, CFYJ State Campaigns Director

One of the legacies of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s tenure at the U.S. Supreme Court will be his central role in recognizing that, for the purposes of criminal justice, “children are different” and should be treated differently than adults

Basing his arguments on an emerging consensus in adolescent neuroscience and development, a consensus that continues to strengthen, Kennedy was a decisive voice in decisions that protected children from the harshest punishments applied to adults.

Class is Back in Session: It's Time To Rethink the Number of School Resource Officers in our Schools

Marcy Mistrett Tuesday, 04 September 2018 Posted in Across the Country

By Marcy Mistrett, CFYJ CEO

The end of summer has arrived.  Children across the country will officially be back in school this week.  Families have been busy getting ready—new shoes, uniforms, school supplies and bus passes. Children anticipate meeting a new teacher, seeing friends they missed over the summer, and routine schedules.

However, in far too many places, school leaders are struggling with inadequate budgets and public pressure to keep schools safe.  Too often, these responses rely on increasing the presence of law enforcement officers, or in some cases, allowing teachers and administrators to carry weapons in school. Despite there being too many multi-victim school shootings in the U.S., schools remain amongst the safest places for children to be.

Bills A1233 and SJR18 Provide Hope for New Jersey Juvenile Defendants Serving Lengthy Sentences

Larissa Truchan, Armando Garcia, Katherine Wright Tuesday, 28 August 2018 Posted in 2018, Across the Country

By Larissa Truchan, Armando Garcia, Katherine Wright, New Jersey Parents' Caucus

In 2012, the Supreme Court established in the landmark Miller v. Alabama decision that “the Eighth Amendment forbids a sentencing scheme that mandates life in prison without the possibility of parole for juvenile offenders.” Mandatory sentences to life without parole, the court argued, prevent the judge from considering the “mitigating effects of youth,” which were acknowledged in the Court’s earlier rulings of Roper v. Simmons (2005) and Graham v. Florida (2010). As a result, Miller established that mandatory life sentences without parole are unconstitutional for juveniles, and judges must consider youth-related mitigating factors, including children’s individual characteristics and life circumstances, during sentencing.

Committed to the Fight for Justice: CFYJ’s Journey to Montgomery and Selma

Rachel Kenderdine Monday, 13 August 2018 Posted in 2018, Across the Country

By Rachel Kenderdine, CFYJ Operations and Development Manager

This is the second of a two part series.

During CFYJ’s recent trip to Alabama, we made the drive to Selma, where on March 7, 1965, voting rights activists, peacefully attempting to march from Selma to Montgomery, were stopped and beaten by police just across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The horrific incident became known as “Bloody Sunday.” The activists were forced to turn back and flee for their lives, but national outrage sparked by the injustice of Bloody Sunday allowed civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King, Jr. and now-Representative John Lewis (D-GA), to complete the march two weeks later with federal protections granted by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Bloody Sunday and the Selma to Montgomery March--and the leadership of activists like Dr. King and John Lewis--also gave President Johnson the push he needed work with Congress to pass and sign federal legislation to protect the voting rights of African Americans. Though guaranteed by the 15th Amendment, African Americans across the South were prevented from registering to vote by local laws enforcing literacy tests or other means to keep blacks from accessing their voting rights.

Committed to the Fight for Justice: CFYJ’s Journey to Montgomery and Selma

Rachel Kenderdine Tuesday, 07 August 2018 Posted in 2018, Across the Country

By Rachel Kenderdine, CFYJ Operations and Development Manager

This is the first of a two part series.

When the Equal Justice Initiative’s new Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice opened in April, CFYJ staff knew it was imperative to make a trip to Montgomery, Ala. to visit these powerful landmarks. One of our significant goals for 2018 has been to make our commitment to racial equity and justice explicit to our partners and the public; to reinforce our commitment to what racial equity really looks like--and the actions and steps we can take to decrease racial disparities and keep fighting for change. We know that youth of color still disproportionately experience police violence and the adult criminal justice system, as over 70 percent of youth in the adult criminal justice system are youth of color. As a campaign, it is our job to make change in the broken systems that still disempower and disenfranchise our youth--and this trip helped us to see why it is important to remain committed to the fight for justice, even when the current political climate makes this feel impossible.

Primary Election Day in Missouri: Why It's Important To #VoteYouthJustice

Michael Dammerich Tuesday, 07 August 2018 Posted in 2018, Across the Country, Take Action Now

By Michael Dammerich, CFYJ Junior Board Member

Buying a house, renting a car, or even catching a Lyft are all simple things, right? Of course. However, we take it for granted you must be 18 to do any of those. Most people can agree on that. What about serving an adult prison sentence? In Missouri, kids as young as age 12 are "eligible" to find themselves behind bars in an adult institution.

Wisconsin’s Next Governor: A Youth Justice Champion?

Michelle Hannemann Monday, 23 July 2018 Posted in 2018, Across the Country

By Michelle Hannemann, CFYJ Spokesperson

There are many parents in the state of Wisconsinbut not many can say they are the mother of a felon that was charged as an adult for a crime he committed when he was a 14-year-old child. Clearly this is nothing to be proud of; however, I can be proud of how our son has evolved and overcome our state justice system’s tragic decision to treat him like an adult when he was a child. Speaking from experience, I never want another parent to have to endure the hopeless and overwhelming feelings of fear I continually feltnot knowing what was going to happen to my son. Sadly, our worst fears came true and our son was sent to prison. This does not need to happen to a child you love and care for. No one ever thinks it is going to be their child, grandchild, niece, nephew, friend’s child, etc., but it can happen!  Children will continue to make bad decisions at times in their lives as they are learning and developing through life. Do they need consequences? ABSOLUTELY! But adult jails and prisons are no place for a child.

Get Your Candidates Talking About Youth Justice

Rachel Marshall Wednesday, 20 June 2018 Posted in 2018, Across the Country

By Rachel Marshall, Federal Policy Counsel

We’re a little less than 5 months away from 2018’s crucial midterm elections, but before we can get there, states across the country are voting in packed primary elections. Here at the Campaign for Youth Justice, we’re using this opportunity to make sure local communities are getting out to vote and getting their local candidates to talk about youth justice. That’s why we were thrilled to hear Pod Save the People host DeRay McKesson talk to two out of the three candidates for Baltimore State’s Attorney on a recent episode  of the podcast ahead of Maryland’s June 26 primary election (he invited all three candidates, but the third candidate did not respond).

This Is America: Can it be the Year to #VoteYouthJustice?

Aprill O. Turner Wednesday, 16 May 2018 Posted in Across the Country

By Aprill O. Turner, Communications Director

2018 has already been another year of tension in cities across the country between police officers and young black males.

The headlines of these incidents never seem to cease. In March, officers in Sacramento, Calif., opened fired and killed Stephon Clark for standing in his own backyard holding a cellphone. Then in April, Brooklyn police officers shot and killed Saheed Vassel, an unarmed black man with mental disabilities when they mistakenly mistook the pipe he was holding for a gun.

National Youth Violence Prevention Week: Putting our Children and Communities First

Harmeet Kamboj Monday, 19 March 2018 Posted in 2018, Across the Country

By Harmeet Kamboj, Communications Associate

This week marks National Youth Violence Prevention Week, an initiative spearheaded by Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) and Sandy Hook Promise to "raise awareness and to educate students, teachers, school administrators, counselors, school resource officers, parents, and the public on effective ways to prevent or reduce youth violence." In light of the recent Parkland, Florida school shooting and resulting policy talks addressing school safety, CFYJ hopes this year's Youth Violence Prevention Week sparks a conversation that not only forefronts the safety of our youth and communities, but also underscores the need for school- and community-based support services that benefit our children in the long term.

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