Looking for ways to start a Campaign in your state? This page has everything you need to launch your own crusade to diminish the involvement of youth in the adult criminal justice system. Don’t think you have the time to make a difference? We have several ideas and tools that only take a few minutes but have a big impact.
› Media Guide
› Legislative Guide
› Interview Guide
› Mother's Day Toolkit
› Childhood Interrupted
› Holiday Toolkit
› Principles of Effective Juvenile Justice Coalitions
› Talking Points
› Site Visit Toolkit
› No Turning Back: Approaches to Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities
Media Guide [return to top]
Interested in learning how to use the media to spread your message? The Media Guide explains how you can cooperate with news agencies to get your message into the spotlight. Planning media hits, writing media materials, pitching stories, and more are all covered in this comprehensive yet easy to understand manual.
Media Guide (PDF 268 KB)
Legislative Guide [return to top]
Want to find out how to contact legislators and get them on your side? The legislative guide shows how you can educate your legislators about important issues which they may have otherwise overlooked. Plenty of sample materials and templates make contacting your legislator easy and effective.
Legislative Guide (PDF 204 KB)
Interview Guide [return to top]
This interview guide is intended to use for the purpose of interviewing current and formerly incarcerated youth in the adult criminal justice system, their parents and families. The guide can be used for a variety of purposes; including to document experiences and identify patterns; to establish a connection with these youth and their families; to engage, involve and empower youth, parents and families in the policy process; and to illustrate concretely to policymakers, the public, and the media how state policies which try and sentence youth directly impact youth, their parents, and families. The ultimate goal of conducting these interviews is to inform and change public policy with the involvement of those most directly impacted – youth incarcerated in the adult criminal justice system.
Interview Guide (PDF 288 KB)
Mother's Day Toolkit [return to top]
The Mother's Day toolkit provides ideas and sample materials for connecting mothers and their children on Mother's Day, engaging more mothers in your advocacy efforts, and raising awareness about this important issue.
The Mother's Day Toolkit is available in two formats:
DOC Format (196 KB)
PDF Format (312 KB)
Childhood Interrupted [return to top]
Get your friends and family involved in youth justice with our great new tool. It’s a short DVD designed to get people thinking and spark discussion about the practice of trying youth in the adult system. Also included is a Discussion Guide, which can be used to further exchange about this important issue. For your free copy of this DVD, contact us at
See the clip!
Holiday Toolkit [return to top]
The holiday season provides us with a unique opportunity to reach out and make meaningful connections with youth who are detained or incarcerated in adult jails and correctional facilities across the country. Spending the holidays away from family can be hard, but being locked up too far from home to receive visits is especially painful for both the children and their families. It means so much to these youth when someone remembers them, even with the simplest gift, card or event. It gives these youth hope to know that someone cares, someone thinks about them, and someone is working for them throughout the year.
This toolkit includes a few ideas for holiday projects that you can put together to reach out to incarcerated youth. Besides making a difference to these most affected populations, holiday outreach is an amazing opportunity to connect with, inform, and empower community groups. If you are working as part of an organization, this outreach will enhance your organization's visiblity in the community and strengthen its partnerships in the field.
Principles of Effective Juvenile Justice Coalition [return to top]
“Principles of Effective Juvenile Justice Coalitions” -- a paper presented at the National Juvenile Justice Network Annual Forum in New Orleans, Louisiana on July 15, 2010 by Robert M. Francis, Executive Director of RYASAP and one of the founders of the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance. Effective community based and statewide coalitions focused on juvenile justice system reform can be a powerfully effective way of initiating and sustaining major system reforms. In Connecticut we have been particularly successful in developing and expanding such coalitions. The purpose of this paper is twofold:
(1) to describe a local juvenile justice reform coalition that sparked, built and fostered a formal statewide juvenile justice system reform organization and (2) to describe the principles of coalition building that were instrumental in the development of these efforts.
Talking Points [return to top]
Reducing Transfer Talking Points
Site Visit Toolkit [return to top]
We are asking organizations and individuals in States across the country to organize events for Members of U.S. Congress and their staff to visit youth participating in juvenile justice programs, community-based alternatives to incarceration programs or housed at adult jails. The purpose of these events is to raise policymakers’ awareness of youth in juvenile and criminal justice programs and facilities and to encourage them to help protect these youth by becoming leaders in reforming the juvenile justice system. In this packet, you will find the following documents to help you prepare for and implement a successful visit!
Site Visit Toolkit
No Turning Back [return to top]
No Turning Back: Promising Approaches to Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities Affecting Youth of Color in the Justice System
This guide is a multi-strategy initiative with the goals (a) to reduce the overrepresentation and disparate treatment of youth of color in the justice system and (b) to promote fair and effective juvenile justice policies. The initiative has had five components:
1. New research on the disparate impact of the justice system on youth of color;
2. Site-based work, including close analysis of decision-making at the points of arrest, detention, and disposition, and focused projects in particular cities, counties and states;
3. Direct advocacy on behalf of youth of color, especially regarding conditions of confinement in juvenile and adult facilities;
4. Constituency-building among civil rights and other organizations, policymakers, and leaders, particularly those who have not previously worked in the juvenile justice area;
5. Development of effective communications strategies to provide accurate, up-to-date information to constituent organizations and individuals, as well as to the media, and through the media to the general public.