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International Youth Day 2017: Celebrating the Contribution of Youth to Transformation, Social Justice, and Peace

Friday, 11 August 2017 Posted in Across the Country

By Jeree Thomas, Policy Director, and Tim Klipp, Juvenile Justice Fellow

August 12, 2017 is International Youth Day. The United Nations General Assembly adopted the day by resolution in December 1999. The adoption of the day occurred nearly a decade after the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Among the rights outlined in the Convention are the right of children to stay connected to their parents when they are separated by State action, the right of children to express their views and to be heard in judicial and administrative proceedings, and the right to liberty in the criminal justice and juvenile justice context. Under Article 37 of the Convention, the use of “arrest, detention, or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time...”   The United States has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is why International Youth Day is an important time to lift up the rights, voices, and needs of youth.

Remembering Michael Brown; Police Don’t Create Safety, Communities do

Tuesday, 08 August 2017 Posted in Voices

By Aprill O. Turner, Communications Director

Today we reflect on the memory of Mike Brown, the 18-year old unarmed black teen fatally shot six times, twice in the head, by Ferguson, Mo. police officer, Darren Wilson. The 2014  shooting prompted protests across the nation for weeks. The gripping images of a blood-covered white sheet lying over the form of his motionless body for hours will forever be etched in our memories. As will the image of another black mother with tears streaming down her face grieving the loss of her son to this senseless, yet all too common scenario.Three years and many more police-involved shootings later, we ask ourselves, is this what public safety looks like in our communities?

The Youth Who Remain: Pedro Hernandez and the Youth who Remain on Rikers Island until the Implementation of the Raise the Age Law

Thursday, 27 July 2017 Posted in Voices

By Eunice Revis, Juvenile Justice Fellow, and Jeree Thomas, Policy Director

In April, Governor Cuomo signed a budget bill that included language to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction so that the majority of 16 and 17-year olds would no longer be incarcerated, tried, or treated as adults. However, the legislation does not go into effect until October 1, 2018 for 16-year olds and October 2019 for 17-year olds. In addition, it bans the placement of youth under 18 in adult facilities by October 2018.  Finally, the law stops short of protecting all youth under age 18; it allows youth age 14 and older to still be tried as adults if they are charged with serious felonies; as is the case with Bronx Teen, Pedro Hernandez.

2017 Summer Institute: Session 2 – Youth in Solitary Confinement

Wednesday, 26 July 2017 Posted in Voices

By Eunice Revis, Juvenile Justice Fellow

On July 24, 2017, the Campaign for Youth Justice Fellows hosted the second session of the 2017 Summer Institute for interns and fellows from various juvenile justice organizations to discuss the effects of solitary confinement on children. The Campaign was thrilled to have Jenny Lutz, the Campaign Manager for the Stop Solitary for Kids Campaign, and staff attorney at the Center for Children’s Law and Policy (CCLP) - an organization focused on eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system, reducing the unnecessary and inappropriate incarceration of children, and eliminating dangerous and inhumane practices for youth in custody.

New York and North Carolina Are The Last States To Raise The Age of which Children can be Funneled Through their Adult Jails and Prisons

Friday, 21 July 2017 Posted in Campaigns

By Marcy Mistrett, CEO

2017 marks a historical milestone in the United States’ juvenile justice system.    After decades of advocacy, New York and North Carolina both passed legislation to raise their age of juvenile court jurisdiction to 18.  When both laws are fully implemented in 2019, it will be the first time in US history since the creation of the juvenile court that no state will automatically treat 16 year olds as adults solely because of their age.  While a vast majority of states treat individuals under 18 as youth and therefore start them in juvenile court, this age has never been uniformly agreed upon.

Parenting Without A Voice

Thursday, 20 July 2017 Posted in Voices

By Michelle Hannemann

When children are charged as adults; their parents aren’t notified of their arrest, or that the police are interrogating them in connection with a crime.  Michelle found it out the hard way, when her 16 year old high school junior was arrested and charged with a felony as an adult.  Based heavily on the statement he provided to the police (without any legal representation), he was waived to adult court and sentenced to 5 years in prison. Michelle’s son was then released on an electronic bracelet, and resentenced in 2016 after appealing his first sentence.. Through this hardship, Michelle has learned a lot about the justice system, and how harmful it is for children to be treated as adults.

In honor of Parents' Day, Michelle tells the story of how hard it is to be a parent when you no longer have a voice. 

Voices Elevate to Advance Juvenile Justice Reform

Wednesday, 05 July 2017 Posted in Federal Update

By Marcy Mistrett, CEO, and Abby McNeal, Juvenile Justice Fellow


Juvenile justice is perhaps one of the only political issues that continues to see strong bipartisan support from Congress. This trend was continued once again last month at the House Judiciary Sub Committee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations held a hearing on juvenile justice reform in the modern era. This hearing comes weeks after the House passed the reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA). Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) worked with her Republican Sub-Committee members to organize a hearing that prioritized juvenile justice as a critical component to criminal justice reform overall; focusing on successful alternatives to incarceration and the work that still needs to be accomplished around the treatment of youth who remain confined.

“Unalienable Rights”

Friday, 30 June 2017 Posted in Across the Country

By Brian Evans, State Campaign Director

This July 4, we celebrate the 241st anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. This Declaration did more than just begin the process of extricating 13 colonies from British rule. It asserted that “all men” had “unalienable Rights” to “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”, establishing extremely lofty aspirations for the emerging United States of America.

These aspirations have not been met.

The Importance of Protecting LGBTQ Youth in the Juvenile Justice System

Wednesday, 28 June 2017 Posted in Research & Policy

By Eunice Revis, Juvenile Justice Fellow

Discrimination, homelessness, and family rejection lead LGBTQ youth to the juvenile justice system - where they are exposed to unjust abuse and treatment. An alarming data report released today by the Movement Advancement Project, Center for American Progress, and Youth First presented the large number of LGBTQ youth in the juvenile justice system, and the harsh reality of being a LGBTQ youth in our nation’s juvenile detention and correctional facilities. Despite the extremely high rates of LGBTQ youth entering the juvenile justice system, the United States’ education system, law enforcement, and juvenile defenders, are not capable of managing the common challenges these children may face. As a result, the juvenile justice system does more harm to LGBTQ youth by criminalizing them. It is vital that LGBTQ youth in the juvenile justice system be protected, and that we target the discriminatory practices that are a result of the disproportionate imprisonment of LGBTQ youth.

North Carolina Raises the Age!

Tuesday, 27 June 2017 Posted in Campaigns

By Jeree Thomas, Policy Director

The Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ) is thrilled that after nearly 100 years of treating 16 and 17-year olds as adults, the North Carolina legislature has passed a budget bill that includes raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to 18 in North Carolina.   Although Governor Cooper vetoed the budget bill due to other policy concerns, the bill has enough support in the legislature to override the Governor’s veto.

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