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Fewer Arrests, Empty Facilities, and Solitary Confinement: New York’s Raise the Age Law after 9 Months

Brian Evans Tuesday, 16 July 2019 Posted in 2019

New York’s Raise the Age law has been in effect for 16-year-olds for over 9 months now (it goes into effect for 17-year-olds on October 1 of this year).  The results are (mostly) good, and in line with what we have seen in other states.

For example, in New York City, arrests of 16-year-olds, especially for misdemeanors such as “petit larceny, criminal possession of marijuana 5, assault 3, theft of services, criminal trespass 2 and 3, and criminal possession of a weapon 4” have dropped significantly. And facilities that were anticipated to hold large numbers of children are not even close to full.  According to one recent report: “a total of 171 beds are ready and waiting for youthful offenders but less than 12 percent have been filled.”

Check out CFYJ's Summer Reading List!

Monday, 15 July 2019 Posted in 2019

In time for summer reading, The Campaign for Youth Justice is proud to present its Summer Reading list.

The lists consist of classics such as "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison to "Just Mercy" by Bryan Stevenson, which will be coming out as a feature film in early 2020.

Whether planning to hit the beach this summer or lounge by the pool, please ensure the Campaign for Youth Justice's Summer Reading list makes your packing essentials, and help support authors committed to writing about and raising awareness about ending the practice of prosecuting, sentencing, and incarcerating youth under the age of 18 in the adult criminal justice system.

Additionally, please support our CFYJ bookstore on Amazon Prime Day. You can make a difference while you shop Amazon Prime Day deals on July 15 & 16  to add these insightful books from our recommended summer reading list. Shop here.

The Campaign for Youth Justice Summer Reading list.

The New Jim Crow , Michelle Alexander

The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin

A question of freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival and Coming of Age in Prison, by Dwayne Betts

The Central Park Five: The Untold Story Behind One of New York City's Most Infamous Crimes, by Sarah Burns

Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates

The War on Kids: How American Juvenile Justice Lost Its Way, Cara Drianan

The Evolution of the Juvenile Court: Race, Politics, and the Criminalizing of Juvenile Justice, by Barry Feld

Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics, by Marie Gottschalk

Lockdown, Walter Dean Meyers

Pushout: The criminalization of Black Girls in Schools, Monique W. Morris

The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison

So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo  

All Day: A Year of Love and Survival Teaching Incarcerated Kids at Rikers Island, by Lize Jessie Peterson

Girls in Justice, by Richard Ross

Boy with a Knife, by Jean Trounstine

Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson



Freedom for Whom?

Dana Abed and Ashni Bhojwani, CFYJ Summer Fellows Wednesday, 03 July 2019 Posted in 2019

As the United States approaches its 243rd Independence Day, one reflects on who in our country is entitled to the freedoms of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” that are embedded into our Declaration of Independence?  Are we all truly seen as equals entitled to these unalienable rights? From the inception of U.S. Independence Day, it has been clear that only some Americans are granted such privileges. From the U.S. Constitution’s consideration of slaves to be 3/5 of a person, and the 13th amendment permitting enslavement for the incarcerated, it is clear that our founding fathers didn’t grant everyone freedom.

The U.S. is Torturing Children

Brian Evans, CFYJ State Campaigns Director Wednesday, 26 June 2019 Posted in 2019

Today, June 26, is the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. Here in the U.S., survivors of torture from all over the world have sought asylum and received support and care from groups like the Center for Victims of Torture. The U.S. government even issued a statement today in which Secretary of State Pompeo, with what one presumes is a straight face, asserted: 

“The United States is unambiguous. We never conduct torture, period, full stop.”

Keeping Juvenile Justice at the Center of Reparations

Marion Humphrey, Jr. Friday, 21 June 2019 Posted in 2019

Why the Ongoing Harm to Children of Color in the Criminal Justice System Should Be a Part of the Reparations Discussion

By Marion Humphrey, Jr.

On Juneteeth, June 19, 2019, the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing on H.R. 40, an act to create a commission to study and develop reparation proposals for African-Americans.

As introduced in the The Color of Youth Transferred to the Adult Criminal Justice System: Policy & Practice Recommendations, in the United States, “the vestiges of slavery are embedded in the criminal justice system and codified in the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution: Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

2019 Summer Fellows

Summer Fellows Friday, 14 June 2019 Posted in 2019

Summer is here and CFYJ has a new class of summer fellows! Our 2019 fellow class represents diverse backgrounds from all over the country and have come to Washington this summer with one goal-- to help advance justice for young people. Learn more about their backgrounds and aspirations.  

Pictured left to right: Ashni, Ashley, Francine, and Marion

In Honor Of...

Marcy Mistrett, CEO Thursday, 06 June 2019 Posted in 2019

Today we remember Kalief Browder and the children who sleep in adult jails and prisons every night across the country

By Marcy Mistrett, CEO

Anniversaries can be moments of celebration or they can be reminders of our losses and short-comings.  The exoneration and settlement awarded to of five young men charged with rape, assault, robbery , attempted murder, and rioting  in NY in 2014 juxtaposed to the tragic suicide of Kalief Browder in 2015 underscores this fact.

Today is the 4th anniversary of Kalief Browder’s death; he was 22 years young when he took his life, after spending three years on Rikers Island in New York as a teenager, two of which were spent in solitary confinement.  His story moved a nation—and the state of New York fundamentally changed the way it looked at 16 & 17 year olds in their justice system.

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. 

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