Youth Justice Awareness Month: Advocate, Lend a Voice, Take Action
By Alisha Carrington
The criminal adult system is no place for a child. In America over 250,000 youth are tried, sentenced, or incarcerated every year. Many people are shocked at the statistics of the youth incarceration rate, but not many are willing to advocate, lend a voice and take action. Across the U.S. there are laws and policies that are harmful to children and place them right into adult jails and prisons where they rarely have access to education and rehabilitative services.
Growing up, I’m sure that many of us can remember important milestones such as our high school prom and graduation. We can remember our first car and job. We can remember our transition into adulthood, however many youth who fall victim to our adult prison system will never have these experiences. They will spend their formative years living out adult consequences for youthful mistakes. This is a tragedy, and at some point our society will have to take a stand against the laws that make incarcerating our youth, and housing them in adult prisons no longer a reality.
As a community we must band together. As we wrap up the month of October and Youth Justice Awareness Month (YJAM) the I urge you to learn more about the importance of this issue and ask that we all help lend a voice to the children that are not able to speak for themselves. There are many ways to educate your community about this issue during YJAM and to continue efforts throughout the rest of the year. Please visit the Campaign for Youth Justice website to learn more about the collateral consequences of sending kids to the adult criminal justice system and learn more about how to take action.
Many people in America are unaware of what goes on inside adult jails and prisons. It is our jobs as mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters to make sure that we become aware and get involved. Please make a change, save a life, join the movement!
Alisha Carrington is a guest blogger as well as an advocate and spokesperson for juvenile justice issues. She currently works with Free Minds Book Club and Writing Workshop as an Outreach Specialist in Washington, D.C. and is a student at Montgomery Community College.
Join us this week and continue the conversation online, using:
#YouthVoices #YJAM #YouthJustice