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The New Netflix Limited Series "When They See Us" Provides an Inside Look at the Power of Prosecutors and Media in Youth Incarceration Cases

By Aprill O. Turner CFYJ Communications Director Thursday, 30 May 2019 Posted in Across the Country

By Aprill O. Turner, CFYJ Communications Director

NOTE: CFYJ Communications Director, Aprill Turner appeared on WHUR.FM (Washington, DC) with cast member of "When They See Us", Asante Blackk. Check out the full interview here--What You Will Learn From the Documentary of Central Park 5.

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Today Netflix releases the highly anticipated limited series, Ava DuVernay's "When They See Us". The series chronicles the story of the tragic Central Park Five case about five teenage boys of color from Harlem who were wrongly convicted of the rape of a white woman which they didn't commit in 1989, and the 25-year fight for justice following their conviction.

The Campaign for Youth Justice had the opportunity to participate in an advanced screening of the film last month in New York, along with other social and criminal justice advocacy organizations.

Landmark Reforms Rolling Back Mandatory Transfer in Oregon & Florida

By Brian Evans, CFYJ State Campaigns Director Thursday, 30 May 2019 Posted in Campaigns

By Brian Evans, CFYJ State Campaigns Director

Back in 1994, the year the infamous federal Crime Bill passed – accelerating mass incarceration throughout the United States – the voting public in Oregon chose to endorse Measure 11, a “tough-on-crime” proposal that required children as young as 15 to automatically be transferred to the adult criminal justice system for a wide variety of crimes. By 1997, the legislature had expanded the list of crimes to 23 and lengthened the mandatory sentences associated with them.

2019 Legislative Reforms After Raise the Age

Brian Evans & Jeree Thomas Monday, 20 May 2019 Posted in 2019

Since 2016, five states, Louisiana, South Carolina, New York, North Carolina, and Missouri, have passed laws to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to age eighteen.  Now, only four states remain with lower ages of juvenile court jurisdiction without laws to raise the age in the near future. Michigan’s legislature recently passed bill packages in the House and the Senate to raise the age. 

Challenging Lengthy Sentences for Youth Prosecuted As Adults in Illinois

Jeree Thomas, CFYJ Policy Director Monday, 06 May 2019 Posted in 2019

Brian Harrington was fourteen-years-old when he was prosecuted as an adult in Illinois and sentenced to twenty-five year under the state’s truth in sentencing law.  On April 11th, his attorney and loved ones presented his clemency petition in the hopes of bringing him home before he spends over half of his life incarcerated.

Free Masonique

By Jeree Thomas. Policy Director Thursday, 02 May 2019 Posted in 2019

On December 7, 2018, an undercover Columbus Police officer shot and killed sixteen-year-old  Julius Ervin Tate Jr. in a sting operation. The police allege that Tate pulled a gun on one of the officers during their exchange, but that claim is under dispute.  A week later, the police arrested sixteen-year-old Masonique Saunders, Tate’s girlfriend, for aggravated robbery and the felony murder of her boyfriend.

What A Week for Youth Justice: Help Us Thank Our Advocates and Families

Monday, 22 April 2019

As state legislative sessions are starting to come to a close, we are seeing some excellent progress in our state campaigns and with some of our other state partners.  If you need a little joy this week, please feel free to send inspirational tweets to the advocates and families leading these initiatives in the states:

 

Removing Youth from Adult Jails & Prisons is a Racial Justice Issue: Making the Shift in Connecticut away from Prisons & Toward Communities

Jeree Thomas, CFYJ Policy Director Thursday, 18 April 2019 Posted in Campaigns

Jeree Thomas, CFYJ Policy Director

When I was finally let into general population, entering into my cottage, I felt like I was walking into a dog pound, all of the youth banging on the doors to get my attention to send threats. While I was passing every door I would look at the kid behind it. All I could see were kids, black like me, that had been turned out due to the system.
- Romelo Gross, formerly incarcerated in Manson Youth Institution

On Monday, April 15th, Connecticut legislators Senator Gary Winfield, Representative Toni Walker, and Representative Robyn Porter joined the young adult leaders of the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance Justice Advisors program to discuss how to shift away from holding children in adult jails and prisons in the state.  

A recurring theme throughout the event was that the prosecution and incarceration of children as adults has its roots in slavery and racial terror.  As a result, the punishment of adultification is most often reserved for black youth. This is true in Connecticut and nationally, where black youth are disproportionately represented in adult courts, jails and prisons.  This holds true even as the United States has reduced its daily population of youth in adult jails and prisons  by 53% since 2010, from 9,855 on any given night to 4,656.  

D.C. Emancipation Day

By Marcy Mistrett, CFYJ CEO Tuesday, 16 April 2019 Posted in 2019

Every April 16, Washingtonians celebrate the anniversary of the day that more than 3,000 of its residents were emancipated from slavery. One-hundred and fifty-seven years after slavery officially ended in the District, the legacy of slavery remains with us in the nation’s capital. Through the halls of Congress and the White House, both erected through the labor of enslaved people to the current lack of representation in the U.S. Congress, we are reminded of the many ways that the residents of the District of Columbia are still fighting for freedom and equality.

OJJDP Data Supports the “Raise the Age Effect”

Hannah Kehrer, CFYJ State & Communications Fellow Tuesday, 26 March 2019 Posted in 2019

At the beginning of the year, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) released multiple new data reports; one specifically highlighting the “Arrest Characteristics of Older Juveniles and Young Adults.” These data points show that since 2008, arrest rates have declined 60% for ages 15–17, 50% for ages 18–20, and 31% for ages 21–24. As states have “Raised the Age” of criminal responsibility to 18 or higher, the arrest rates of 18-20 year olds is also falling faster than other age groups in the adult systems.

Raise the Age Month

Brian Evans, CFYJ State Campaigns Director Monday, 25 March 2019 Posted in 2019

It started on the last day of February, when Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers announced his intention to “Raise the Age” of adult court jurisdiction to 18 as part of his executive budget. By mid-March, all four states that have yet to pass such “Raise the Age” legislation had taken significant actions towards doing so.

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