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Mother's Day Series: "I Am A Mother And…As For Me And My House….Tomorrow Has Not Come."

Monday, 01 May 2017 Posted in 2017, Voices

To celebrate Mother's Day that is coming up on May 14, we will be highlighting throughout this week the voices of mothers of incarcerated youth, whose unconditional love and support is often the only ray of light for children behind bars. Next week, we will feature messages that youth in prison wanted to send their moms/caregivers for Mother's Day. 

By Heidi Nuttall

It was a warm day In late September 2011. I stood in the judge's chambers and sobbing, I watched as my precious 14 year old son was led away, 570 miles away. Sentenced as an adult for 40 years? How many MEN have had that dooming sentence? Being the mother of a very young person, charged, sentenced and condemned to a life of looking behind his back, always in fear, never feeling secure unless he’s locked behind solid cement. How does it feel? Today, it feels hopeless… There’s really no other word, just hopeless. In the beginning, we lived in a glass house, in a small town of 900 where everyone knows everybody, fear reigned supreme! In the public eye, my son was a hardened criminal. When he came home after 4 months in Juvenile Detention, before his sentencing, mothers circulated petitions, for fear he would snatch their children.

Racial Disparities in Jail and Prison Sentences for Youth Tried as Adults in Florida

Friday, 28 April 2017 Posted in 2017, Research & Policy

By Jeree Thomas, Policy Director

This month, the Journal of Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice featured a new paper by Peter Lehmann, Ted Chiricos, and William Bales called, Sentencing Transferred Juveniles in the Adult Criminal Court: The Direct and Interactive Effects of Race and Ethnicity.   The research analyzes data from over 30,000 youth defendants tried as adults in Florida for felony offenses from 1995 to 2006.  There are three guiding questions of the research.  First, is there a statistically significant difference between the likelihood of a Black or Hispanic youth receiving a jail or prison sentence instead of community supervision than that of their White peers?  Second, do Black and Hispanic youth receive lengthier prison and jail sentences than their White peers?  Finally, what impact does age and sex in addition to race have on the likelihood of receiving a prison sentence, and on the length of that sentence?

ROOTS Weekend Richmond: “Creating a World Without Prisons”

Monday, 24 April 2017 Posted in 2017, Voices

By Jeree Thomas, Policy Director

The Campaign for Youth Justice had the pleasure of participating in ROOTS Weekend Richmond from April 20th-23rd in Richmond, Virginia. The gathering was a part of Alternate ROOTS weekend series that brings together artists, activists, and community members around themes involving social and economic justice.

Thoughts from LEAD 2017: ‘Persistent Fleas’ Fight for Youth Justice

Wednesday, 12 April 2017 Posted in 2017, Voices

By Catie Armstrong, Juvenile Justice Fellow

The fifth annual McCourt School of Public Policy’s LEAD (Leadership, Evidence, Analysis, Debate) Conference “Moving from Research to Policy and Practice to Improve the Lives of Youth” took place on campus at Georgetown University on April 6 and 7.

New York Passes Raise the Age!

Monday, 10 April 2017 Posted in 2017, CFYJ Updates

By Brian Evans, State Campaign Director

Over the weekend, the New York State Assembly and Senate passed legislation to Raise the Age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18.  This is a huge change that will affect thousands of young people who will enjoy the developmental and educational benefits of the juvenile justice system and avoid exposure to the permanent harms of the adult system and the scarlet letter of an adult criminal record.  This effort was a heavy lift that took the tireless work of hundreds of advocates, legislators, and executive staff. 

Showing Support For Our Most Vulnerable Youth During National Youth Violence Prevention Week

Thursday, 06 April 2017 Posted in 2017, Across the Country

By Catherine Armstrong, Juvenile Justice Fellow

April 3-7 is National Youth Violence Prevention Week. This important week of advocacy is led by Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE), a founding partner of the National Youth Violence Prevention Week Campaign. This year, the campaign is specifically focusing on the role we can all play in promoting safer communities that will help ensure fewer youth become engaged in violent behavior.

Remembering Youth in Adult Jails & Prisons during Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Thursday, 30 March 2017 Posted in 2017, Across the Country

By William Tipton, CFYJ Policy & Research Fellow and Terri Poore, MSW, Policy Director at the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This month, the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV) and the Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ) are partnering to highlight those vulnerable youth living in adult jails and prisons across the country as well as those laws and policies that can protect and support incarcerated youth if properly implemented.

Kent v. United States: Fifty-One Years of Due Process for Youth Waived to Adult Court

Tuesday, 21 March 2017 Posted in 2017, Across the Country

By Catie Armstrong, Juvenile Justice Fellow

March 21, 2017 marks the fifty-first anniversary of Kent v. United States, 383 U.S. 541 (1966).  In Kent, 16 year-old Morris Kent was arrested in Washington D.C. for various charges.  Kent was placed in police custody for 24 hours, and while in custody he was questioned repeatedly about the alleged offenses.  He eventually admitted to some of the offenses.  Kent’s mother hired an attorney to handle his case, and together they prepared to enter the juvenile court system.  But what happened next would unexpectedly define a generation of due process rights for youth waived to the adult criminal justice system.

March is Youth Art Month

Friday, 17 March 2017 Posted in 2017, Voices

By Anne-Lise Vray, Communications Associate

In March, we celebrate Youth Art Month, a great occasion to also celebrate the art created by justice-involved youth and its healing properties. Art in all its forms is often a way for incarcerated youth to take their mind away from their harsh reality and to find hope that better days will come. For many, art is also a therapy and a soothing way to express themselves or expel their trauma. Organizations like Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop use art and creative expression to bring hope to youth in the justice system. Through books, creative writing, and peer support, Free Minds “awaken[s] DC youth incarcerated as adults to their own potential.” Organizations like Free Minds are crucial in the fight to ensure that justice-involved youth get a second chance and the support their need to build - or rebuild – their life.

International Women's Day: Standing in Solidarity with Justice-Involved Women

Tuesday, 07 March 2017 Posted in 2017, Across the Country

By Anne-Lise Vray, Communications Associate

Today, we wear red to stand in solidarity with our young justice-involved women. March 8 marks the 2017 edition of International Women’s Day, yet another occasion to remember that girls and women in the U.S. and across the world continue to face grave disparities and dangers in many – if not all - areas of society. When it comes to the justice system, girls are among the most vulnerable groups. They are the prime victims of the sexual abuse to prison pipeline, a term used to describe the pathways of gendered violence that lead girls into the juvenile justice system. And the numbers are terrifying. Reported rates of sexual abuse are more than four times higher for girls in the system than for boys. Rights 4 Girls cites that 1000 American children are arrested each year for prostitution and that 73 percent of girls in the juvenile justice system have histories of sexual and physical abuse, while 80 percent meet the criteria for a mental health diagnosis. Additionally, girls are twice as likely as boys to report five or more Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES), traumatic or stressful periods during childhood that may impair the brain’s ability to function (ACES, i.e emotional, physical or sexual abuse, emotional neglect, household substance abuse etc). ACES may cause children to mistrust adults, have difficulties learning and/or making friends; all of which make young people vulnerable, including over-representation in youth-serving systems such as child welfare, juvenile justice and/or mental health systems.

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