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A Commitment Worthy of Pride: End the Criminalization of LGBTQ Youth

Monday, 19 June 2017 Posted in Voices

By Shannan Wilber

Pride Month is an opportunity to commemorate the history of the LGBTQ civil rights movement and celebrate the milestones of social and political progress. It is also an opportunity to acknowledge LGBTQ people who have not benefited from these gains, and commit to ending their oppression.

A Broken Heart for Father’s Day: My husband’s Journey

Friday, 16 June 2017 Posted in Voices

By Heidi Nuttall

As a woman and mother, I certainly don’t know from first-hand experience all the feelings and emotions going on within the heart of the man I love and the father of my son, but I can tell you what I’ve observed in our 38 years of marriage, and as we’ve traveled since 2010 on this heartbreaking road with our son who was charged as an adult at the age of 13.

Remembering Kalief Browder: The State of Youth in Adult Jails and Prisons Two-Years After Kalief Browder’s Death

Monday, 05 June 2017 Posted in Voices

By Jeree Thomas, Policy Director

Today, June 6, 2017, marks the two-year anniversary of the devastating loss of Kalief Browder.   Kalief was a twenty-two year old whose traumatic and deeply unjust contact with the adult criminal justice system when he was only 16-years old changed the course of his life forever.   If you are unfamiliar with his story, you can learn more about him in the six-part documentary, Time: The Kalief Browder Story, which aired on Spike Television this year. The documentary details Kalief’s upbringing, what led to him being held for 3-years in an adult jail, Rikers Island, without being convicted of a crime, and how the haunting experience ultimately led to his suicide.

Dramatic Reversal: Ohio Supreme Court Reverses its Landmark Decision on Mandatory Transfer of Youth to Adult Courts

Wednesday, 31 May 2017 Posted in Research & Policy

By Jeree Thomas, Policy Director

On May 25, 2017, the Ohio Supreme Court reversed its landmark decision in State v. Aalim, which held that Ohio’s mandatory transfer statute, which required the transfer of 16 and 17-year olds to adult court for certain offenses after a finding of probable cause, was unconstitutional. 

Spotlight: 6% of the Population, but 40% of the Transfers to Adult Court: The Reality for Black Girls in Iowa’s Juvenile and Adult Justice Systems

Thursday, 25 May 2017 Posted in Research & Policy

By Jeree Thomas, Policy Director

In 2014, Black girls made up approximately 6% of the female youth in Iowa ages 10 to 17; however, they made up 27% of the female juvenile complaints, 41% of the petitions filed on girls in juvenile court, and about 40% of the girls waived to adult court.   This data is given greater context in the Iowa Girls Justice Initiative  final report which builds on a 2016 data report.  Here are just a few of the difficult statistics that highlight the racially disparate and disproportionate reality for Black girls in Iowa’s juvenile and adult justice systems.

U. S. House Approves Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Federal Juvenile Justice Law - Passage Comes Same Day President Trump Releases FY18 Budget Proposal

Tuesday, 23 May 2017 Posted in Federal Update

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives approved by voice vote, H.R. 1809, bipartisan legislation to strengthen and update the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 (JJDPA).

North Carolina “Raise the Age” Takes a Big Step Forward

Tuesday, 16 May 2017 Posted in Campaigns

By Brian Evans, State Campaign Director

On May 17, the North Carolina House of Representatives passed HB 280, legislation that will “Raise the Age” of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18. Once New York raised the age earlier this year, North Carolina became the only state in the country still committed to prosecuting all 16 and 17 year olds as adults, regardless of how minor the offense might be.

Put aside what we don’t know and support justice-involved youth with mental health needs

Tuesday, 16 May 2017 Posted in Campaigns

By Micah Haskell-Hoehl, Legislative and Federal Affairs Officer at the American Psychological Association

We need to be careful about the language we use to discuss mental health and juvenile justice—and even more careful about how we meet the mental health needs of justice-involved youth.

By the numbers, the link may seem straightforward. Up to 70 percent of youth detained in the juvenile justice system—three to four times the rate among their peers in the community—have diagnosable symptoms of a mental health disorder. Depending on the individual diagnosis, the disparity can be even greater, and, particularly alarming, justice-involved youth experience severe emotional disturbance at two and a half times the rate in the community.

Mother's Day Series: Love Messages From Behind Bars

Monday, 08 May 2017 Posted in Voices

Mother’s Day is coming up on Sunday! Last week, we highlighted the voices of moms who had seen their children taken away by the adult criminal justice system. This week, to celebrate the very special place moms and caregivers hold in incarcerated youth’s lives, we asked them what message they wanted to send to their mothers. We collected them here. 

  •  To the moms/caregivers who are going through the difficult time of having a loved one in prison, know that there is not a day that goes by that you are not appreciated. Your support is uncanny which makes you so special and valuable to not only your loved ones but to the world. Know that you are loved and appreciated. - Kevin, James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Smyrna, Delaware

Mother's Day Series: Both of us in captivity in two different ways

Friday, 05 May 2017 Posted in 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 Vikki Stokes

We have risen above and will never give up, although hell came to greet us with its relentless hiccup.
But prayer without ceasing unleashes a power 
That can't be denied and miracles shower
Both of us in captivity in two different ways
My son, I am your mother and won't be ashamed
If you are behind cages or standing in front looking in
If telepathically only be first your son's friend

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