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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)



SAMHSA and MacArthur Renew Commitment to Justice-Involved Youth with Behavioral Health Needs

Friday, 17 January 2014 Posted in 2014, Take Action Now

States seeking to develop or improve policies and practices that divert justice-involved youth with behavioral health disorders to appropriate community-based programs and services are encouraged to apply for a new Integrated Policy Academy initiative.

Up to five states will be selected to participate in this effort based on their commitment to improving policies and practices for these youth. Throughout the duration of the initiative, selected states will receive technical assistance to guide the establishment of sustainable models and strategies for diverting youth with behavioral health disorders as early as possible. This initiative will focus specifically on school-based and probation-intake diversion strategies, with special emphasis on:

The Campaign for Youth Justice Applauds Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his Support of ‘Raising the Age’ in New York State

Wednesday, 08 January 2014 Posted in 2014, Federal Update

Today Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) delivered his annual, ‘State of the State’ Address in which he announced his support to ‘Raise the Age’ of juvenile court jurisdiction in the state of New York.

The Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ) applauds Gov. Cuomo for addressing this issue and urging swift action movement on the measure this year:

From Courts to Communities: The Right Response to Truancy, Running Away, and Other Status Offenses

Monday, 23 December 2013 Posted in 2013, Research & Policy

 

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“Status offenses” can sound like a scary concept, but in reality, status offenses are simply behaviors that are prohibited because of an individual’s legal standing as a minor. They can be things like running away or skipping school, or under-age drinking. While these youth need help, the problem is that the court system is often not the most appropriate place for these cases to be handled.

 

Like most aspects of juvenile justice, it can be difficult to even know where to begin to stem the tide of these types of cases. Fortunately, a new paper from the released by the Status Offense Reform Center at the Vera Institute of Justice called “From Courts to Communities:  The Right Response to Truancy, Running Away, and Other Status Offenses” aims to increase understanding about what status offenses are and what possible solutions look like in the real world.
 

 

The good news is that there are alternatives that work – states like Florida, New York, Louisiana, and Washington have taken incredible steps forward. And they aren’t alone. Across the country, communities are implementing alternatives that involve diverting youth from courts, immediate responses to families in crisis, and other hallmarks of effective systems. 
 

 

Want to learn more? Check out “From Courts to Communities” today to learn more about status offenses and the strategies that are working around the country today to achieve better outcomes for youth!


Research and Support for Retaining Ohio Youth in the Juvenile Justice System Grows: New Report and Resolution Call on Ohio to Continue Efforts to Keep Youth Out of Adult Court

Thursday, 19 December 2013 Posted in 2013, Research & Policy

Columbus, OH – On December 17th, the Children’s Law Center, Inc. released an updated report on Ohio youth in the adult criminal justice system; this report updates the original Falling Through the Cracks report issued in May 2012.  The report covers developments on youth in adult court both nationally, including the U.S. Supreme Court holding in Miller v. Alabama that youth cannot be sentenced to mandatory life without parole, and in Ohio, where the legislature passed SB 337 to keep youth out of adult jails.

The 'Sweet Taste of Justice' was a Huge Success!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013 Posted in 2013, Campaigns

The "Sweet Taste of Justice" event, hosted last week by the Campaign for Youth Justice, was a great success!  It was a night of celebration of the successes of the campaign and its allies' successes in working towards its mission of ending the practice of trying, sentencing and incarcerating youth in the adult criminal justice system, as well as a surprise award presentation to CFYJ President & Founder, Liz Ryan.

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.

VIRGINIA’S JUSTICE SYSTEM: Expensive, Ineffective and Unfair

Tuesday, 19 November 2013 Posted in 2013, Take Action Now

By Christine Brugh

Last week, the Justice Policy Institute released a new brief titled, “Virginia’s Justice System: Expensive, Ineffective, and Unfair.” The brief examines trends in incarceration in Virginia, delving into topics such as racial disparity and drug laws. According to the brief, Virginia has the 8th highest incarceration in the United States, making it even more pertinent that these disparities be addressed.

Voice and Visibility for Disconnected Girls

Carmen Daugherty Monday, 18 November 2013 Posted in 2013, Uncategorised

On November 15th, The National Crittenton Foundation, Georgetown Law Center on Poverty, Inequality & Public Policy, and Human Rights Project for Girls hosted a Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice for Disconnected Girls forum at Georgetown University Law Center. This event launched a new policy series entitled Voices and Visibility for Disconnected Girls: Responding to Trauma. The goal of this new series is to explore the importance of trauma-informed approaches to girls in school, the juvenile justice system, and child welfare system.

YOU ARE INVITED! JOIN CFYJ for #YJAM on Oct 2nd as “We Burn Down The House”

Tuesday, 05 November 2013 Posted in 2013, Take Action Now

October is rapidly approaching and so is Youth Justice Awareness Month! Youth Justice Awareness Month (YJAM) is an opportunity for communities, families, youth, and allies to host community-led actions and events that expose the consequences of children being processed in adult court and placed in adult jails and prisons. With events happening throughout the country, YJAM is not only a time to raise awareness but also a time to build collective action, to strengthen relationships with other advocates, and to join local advocacy campaigns working to create policy changes.

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