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Guest Column: Youth Justice Awareness Month- Educational Opportunities that Allow Youth Voice to be Heard

By Kat Crawford & Christina Campbell, Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings Friday, 04 October 2019 Posted in 2019

By Kat Crawford & Christina Campbell, Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings                        

Now I got to make a decision to be the person I want to be
I want this world to believe in me
I also got all these charges on me
I can’t change anyone but me
 (Lyrics written by an incarcerated youth)

Students attending schools in juvenile justice facilities historically have been terribly served (read: low academic expectations, curricula that is not engaging or rigorous, insufficient special education services, etc.).  What makes this especially tragic is that these young people need, and deserve, the best we have to offer.  Providing youth with quality educational services during their incarceration is essential to improving overall life chances and long-term outcomes.  Many students arrive at juvenile and adult facilities being disengaged from school, most often having experienced school failure and pushout.  By re-engaging in their education, students become equipped with new skills, refocused on their futures, and redirected onto a more productive path.

YJAM IS HERE!

Brian Evans, CFYJ State Campaign Director Thursday, 26 September 2019 Posted in 2019

Brian Evans, CFYJ State Campaign Director

Tomorrow, on October 1, YJAM (Youth Justice Action Month) begins again. Since 2008, youth justice advocates around the country have come together to organize events and online activities to raise awareness and inspire action on behalf of young people impacted by our criminal justice system.

Importance of Trauma-Informed Practices in School

Antonino Grillo, CFYJ Fellow Tuesday, 24 September 2019 Posted in 2019

By Antonino Grillo, CFYJ Fellow

On Wednesday, September 11, 2019, the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing titled, “Importance of Trauma-Informed Practices in Education to Assist Students Impacted by Gun Violence and Other Adversities.” The hearing mainly focused on the damaging effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) on children, how to train teachers and support families to help the children succeed, and how to get funding for some programs that help students who have dealt with trauma. There were four witnesses on the panel, including Dr. Nadine Burke-Harris, Founder of the Center for Youth Wellness, American Pediatrician, and the first and current Surgeon General of California; Dr. Ingrida Barker, Associate Superintendent of McDowell County Schools in West Virginia; Ms. Joy Hofmeister, State Superintendent of Public Instruction in Oklahoma; Ms. Janet Jackson, CEO of the Chicago Public School System (CPS).

4 Letter Words

By Rachel Marshall, Federal Policy Counsel, Campaign for Youth Justice Paromita Shah, Executive Director, Just Futures Law Friday, 20 September 2019 Posted in 2019

By Rachel Marshall, Federal Policy Counsel, Campaign for Youth Justice Paromita Shah, Executive Director, Just Futures Law

As children, we all learn that there are certain words that are not polite or nice to say. Coincidentally, a lot of these forbidden words are four letters long. But what about the word gang? Was that ever a four letter word you weren’t allowed to use? If you are to believe the media and certain politicians, it’s certainly a word that should illicit fear, and one you would never want to be associated with.

Felony Murder – An Unjust Law That Needs to Go

Brain Evans, State Campaign Director Wednesday, 11 September 2019 Posted in 2019

On August 13, in Old Mill Creek, Lake County, Illinois, a 75-year-old homeowner woke up at about 1 am, heard noises, saw some kids around his car, yelled at them to leave, and, when one advanced on him with an object in his hand (allegedly a hunting knife), fired his gun and killed 14-year-old Jaquon Swopes. Murder charges were soon filed, but not against the homeowner. Instead first degree “felony murder” charges were filed against Jaquon’s five companions, all cousins of his between 16 and 18 years of age, who allegedly were attempting to break into the homeowner’s car.

CFYJ welcomes Tracey Tucker as our new State Policy Manager

CFYJ welcomes Tracey Tucker as our new State Policy Manager
Tracey has been working with CFYJ for two years, and has been instrumental to the success of South Carolina's Raise the Age legislation. Tracey brings strong policy and campaign experience in youth justice issues from her work at ACLU, at the public defenders office, and at the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice. She also participated as a YJLI fellow with the National Juvenile Justice Network, on whose board she still serves. Her training as a special education teacher, social worker and attorney  make her a fantastic advocate in this field, and we are lucky to have her join us. 
 

Remembering Youth in Adult Jails & Prisons During Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Jeree Thomas, Marion Humphrey, Jr., and Dana Abed Tuesday, 03 September 2019 Posted in 2019

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. During this month, we remember and mourn the over 47,000 Americans who commit suicide each year.  September is an opportunity to elevate important prevention strategies and support loved ones at risk of suicide. This month the Campaign for Youth Justice will elevate one prevention strategy for justice-involved youth which is to remove children under eighteen from adult jails and prisons across the country.

Youth Justice Reform at the Federal Level – Summer Update

Rachel Marshall, Federal Policy Counsel Wednesday, 28 August 2019 Posted in 2019

Congress’s summer break, known in D.C. as the “August recess,” is winding to an end, and a busy September awaits lawmakers when they return. Before they return, let’s take a look at the work the 116th Congress has accomplished for juvenile justice reform and related issues thus far:

Youth Justice Leaders Must Speak Out on the Border Crisis

By Rachel Marshall , CFYJ Federal Policy Counsel Thursday, 22 August 2019 Posted in Across the Country

By Rachel Marshall , CFYJ Federal Policy Counsel

As an organization that works to end the prosecution, sentencing, and incarceration of youth in the adult criminal justice system, every day my colleagues and I work to educate the public and policymakers on the horrors of subjecting our nation’s young people to the adult criminal justice system. Research shows that the placement of youth in adult facilities are at a higher risk of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. But even if youth remain in the juvenile justice system and are incarcerated in juvenile facilities, they are still at risk for abuse and irreversible trauma. Thanks to excellent investigative reporting, we know that incarcerated youth are too often subjected to horrific abuse at the hands of facility staff.

Legislative Victories 2019: Successful Bills Impacting Youth Prosecuted as Adults

Jeree Thomas, CFYJ Policy Director Thursday, 08 August 2019 Posted in 2019

In 2019, legislators across the country introduced over two hundred bills impacting youth prosecuted as adults. The Campaign for Youth Justice started tracking and publishing these bills in weekly updates archived here. The bills ranged from positive legislation to raise the age to eighteen in Michigan to negative legislation to lower the minimum age of mandatory transfer for certain offenses in Indiana.   Overall, youth, families, advocates, and legislative champions successfully passed a number of bills that will keep youth out of adult courts, jails and prisons.

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