Help CFYJ Support State Reforms This Father's Day
Written by Marcy Mistrett, CFYJ CEO
This weekend is Father's Day and the Campaign for Youth Justice celebrates and recognizes the amazing dads, grandfathers, and other men who have served as role models and mentors to so many children.
While some exchange gifts, watch baseball, or enjoy a special dinner with their fathers, others are not as fortunate to spend the special day with loved ones. CFYJ recognizes all of the children who are incarcerated as adults who won’t be able to spend time with their fathers this year.
Additionally, research shows that 2.7 million children, around half of who are under ten, have a parent in jail or prison. Experts are recognizing this data as an“adverse childhood experience” which can increase the likelihood of poor health and social outcomes as an adult. Overwhelmingly, children impacted by these harsh laws are children of color, despite little to no difference in self-reported criminal behavior.
As the Campaign for Youth Justice continues to wind down our operations, we are committed to ensuring the work continues at the state level, to protect the interests of children who face adult prosecution and incarceration. We know this work can’t get done without the voices and power of children and families in the lead. This month, we are asking that you make a contribution in honor of all the children who are incarcerated and away from their fathers by supporting the work of state-based campaigns.
Each year, at least 76,000 youth come in contact with the adult criminal justice system. Many of these youth are automatically treated as adults under legislative mandatory transfer statutes. These statutes identify specific offenses that require juvenile court judges to transfer a youth to adult court after a finding of probable cause (mandatory waiver to adult court) or result in their cases automatically starting in adult court.
Additionally, across the country, tens of thousands of children are prosecuted and incarcerated in the adult criminal justice system every year. The Raise the Age movement seeks to change this harmful approach by changing laws throughout the country so that no child under 18 will be tried as an adult solely because of their age.
Please join us this month and help put an end to a harmful practice that contributes to the separation of so many families. All contributions during the month of June will support the ending of automatic transfer and raising the age in Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
This Father’s day, and always, put family first.
Happy Father’s Day from the Campaign for Youth Justice.