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The Road Ahead for Youth Justice Reform

By Rachel Marshall, CFYJ Federal Policy Counsel Monday, 04 February 2019 Posted in 2019

After the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, Speaker Pelosi extended an invitation to  President Donald Trump to deliver his second State of the Union Address on February 5. As we prepare to hear the President’s perspective on the state of our union, after a year that brought us both vast rollbacks and great successes on issues impacting our nation’s young people, we again wanted to outline the state of youth justice across the country. The second year of the Trump administration proved to be interesting in the field of youth justice. 2018 was the first full-year of Caren Harp’s tenure as Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).

2019 Legislation on Youth Prosecuted As Adults in the States

By Brian Evans, CFYJ State Campaign Director Monday, 04 February 2019 Posted in 2019

We have made it through the first month of 2019, and most state legislative sessions are now in full swing. As of January 31, and as in years past, proposals relating to youth prosecuted as adults are mostly, though by no means entirely, positive. Meaning that most states are trying to limit or stop the placement of youth in adult courts, jails, and prisons.  Here at CFYJ we are producing a weekly roundup on legislation related to youth prosecuted as adults, which you should check out and bookmark for future reference.

Black History Month: A Time to Reflect on Black How Young Black Boys Are Treated in the Criminal Justice System

By Aprill O. Turner, CFYJ Communications Director Friday, 01 February 2019 Posted in 2019

As January ends and we head into February, it’s time to celebrate Black History Month. Black History Month is a time to celebrate and remember all the ways that African Americans have contributed to our history and culture. It is also a time to reflect on the ills that still plague as a nation. How young Black boys are treated in the criminal justice system is one of those areas. This Black History Month and all year long, the Campaign for Youth Justice is standing up and speaking out about racial bias and inequality in our criminal justice system. At least two of the final four states that have yet to “Raise the Age” will be pushing to do so this year.

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month

By Cherice Hopkins, Staff Attorney, Rights4Girls Thursday, 24 January 2019 Posted in 2019, Across the Country

The JJDPA is an Important Victory in the Continuing Efforts to End the Criminalization of Child Sex Trafficking Survivors

By Cherice Hopkins, Staff Attorney, Rights4Girls

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month and anti-sex trafficking advocates and juvenile justice advocates have mutual cause to celebrate—the reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) after 16 years. Before the Act was signed into law last December, it had not been updated since 2002. During that span of time, much knowledge was gained about youth development and best practices for youth safety and treatment. Likewise, the past decade and a half has seen an increase in the understanding of the prevalence and harms of domestic child sex trafficking, including a growing awareness of the need to end our nation’s carceral response to these young survivors of violence. The updated JJDPA plays a critical role in ensuring that this important knowledge is incorporated into our juvenile justice policies and practices, including those that impact trafficking survivors.

Uncovering the Continuum of Care for Youth Charged as Adults

By Marcy Mistrett, CFYJ CEO Wednesday, 23 January 2019 Posted in 2019

By Marcy Mistrett, CFYJ CEO

In the 1990s, 250,000 youth per year were charged as adults, with tens of thousands of those young people essentially being “raised” by the adult criminal justice system. These huge numbers—the beginning of the current era of mass incarceration—resulted from the “get tough” approach adopted by most states and the federal government in response to a spike in violent crime in the early 1990’s. Without the protections afforded by the juvenile justice system, these youth experienced the worst of the adult criminal system and its “tough on crime” policies: mandatory minimums, truth in sentencing laws, extreme sentences, collateral consequences, long periods of solitary confinement, and increased exposure to violence and assaults.

Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Day 2019

By Marcy Mistrett, CFYJ CEO Friday, 18 January 2019 Posted in 2019

A Call to Action

By Marcy Mistrett, CFYJ CEO

On Monday, the country will honor one of our most celebrated civil rights champions, the Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Dr. King embraced non-violence as his tool for social change. He organized and mobilized thousands of men, women, and children to stand together for something bigger than incremental change—he marched for a dream—that Black Americans would have access to the, “riches of freedom and the security of justice.”  More than 55 years ago, Dr. King forsake his own freedom for the greater good, and penned what may be one of his most critical calls to action in “A Letter from Birmingham Jail”, when he notes that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”, and calls on us to fight injustice through direct-action, a critical component of non-violent resistance that was a cornerstone of his movement work.

January is National Mentoring Month: Celebrating Mentoring and the Positive Effect it can Have on Young Lives

Aprill O. Turner, CFYJ Communications Director Wednesday, 16 January 2019 Posted in 2019

“There is no such thing as other people’s children, we all have a responsibility.” --David Shapiro, CEO of MENTOR The National Mentoring Partnership

Aprill O. Turner, CFYJ Communications Director

More than 5 million children, or one in 14, in the U.S. have had a parent in a state or federal prison at some point in their lives, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and children of color are much more likely to have a parent in prison. One in nine African-American children had a parent behind bars (2015). Since we all know that it takes a village to raise a child, we can all ask ourselves the question, what can I do to help?

2018 Campaign For Youth Justice Federal Update

By Rachel Marshall, CFYJ's Federal Policy Counsel Thursday, 20 December 2018 Posted in CFYJ Updates, Federal Update

Putting the year in perspective.

By Rachel Marshall, CFYJ's Federal Policy Counsel

As 2018 comes to a close, the Campaign for Youth Justice has been reflecting on what a great year it’s been for young people across the country. While there have been a lot of victories on the state level, it has been a surprisingly good year for reform at the federal level, despite an otherwise gridlocked government and some rollbacks from the current administration. Below is a short summary of what Congress and the federal government has been up to this past year:


Opportunities Missed

David Crosby Monday, 10 December 2018 Posted in 2018

By. David T. Crosby, Communications Associate

The Washington Post held a live discussion event where key elected officials and advocates came to discuss the future of the First Step Act. The widely discussed bipartisan criminal justice reform bill, with its future in question.was discussed by heavy-hitters trying to get a vote on this bill before the end of session.  Key speakers at this event included: Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Mike Lee (R-UT), Gov. Tom Wolf (D-PA); Larry Leiser, President of the National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys; Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections John Wetzel; and Rep. Sheryl Delozier, a Republican member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Larry Leiser was the only dissenter at the event--arguing that First Step would diminish public safety, a position that was challenged by the rest of the panelists. 

Human Rights Day – A Look Back at a Not Very Good Year

Brian Evans Monday, 10 December 2018 Posted in 2018

December 10 marks the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the foundational document of the post-World War II human rights system. Coming in December, it represents a chance to reflect on how human rights were respected (or not) during the course of the year.

This year, it is safe to say, has not been a good one for human rights, either in the United States or worldwide. For children and youth in particular, it has been a rough year.

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