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Restorative Justice Diversion and Disrupting Racism in Nashville

By Emily Higgins, Raphah Institute Saturday, 19 October 2019 Posted in 2019

By Emily Higgins, Raphah Institute

Harmful racial and ethnic disparities (RED), particularly in economic and educational structures, feeds RED in the criminal-legal systems. In turn, RED in the criminal-legal system feeds economic and educational RED, and this destructive cycle becomes imbedded in a family – and in an entire community.

Restorative justice is one way to interrupt this cycle and, thus, reduce harmful RED.

Girls of Color and the Criminalization of Trafficking Survivors

Cherice Hopkins, Rights4Girls Saturday, 12 October 2019 Posted in 2019

By Cherice Hopkins, Rights4Girls

This Youth Justice Action Month as families, advocates, and communities participate in acts to end racism and the over-criminalization of young people of color, it is crucial that our efforts intentionally and explicitly uplift the voices and experiences of girls touched by the juvenile justice system. Similar to boys of color, girls of color are disproportionately pushed into the juvenile justice system. In fact, girls of color account for 22% of the youth population, but 66% of incarcerated girls. However, girls’ experiences in the system are distinct from boys, as are the reasons they are pushed into the system. Girls enter the system through pathways that are directly tied to their experiences of interpersonal violence and trauma—a process we call the Abuse to Prison Pipeline. A particularly troubling example of the Abuse to Prison Pipeline is the continued criminalization of child sex trafficking survivors.

Hispanic Heritage Month: Blocking the Trump Administration

Javier Aguilar, CFYJ Fellow Wednesday, 09 October 2019 Posted in 2019

The Trump administration was rebuked by a federal judge on September 27 for its attempt to undo the pivotal Flores Settlement Agreement in an effort to indefinitely detain immigrant children fleeing to the United States for asylum. The judge rejected the sweeping attempt made by the administration that would have given them the authority to keep families in detention centers for as long as it takes to fully process their asylum case and essentially revoked the Flores Settlement Agreement.  This is a critical finding that reflects the well-documented harms of detention on children.

UN Committee on the Rights of the Child: No Children in the Adult Justice System Ever

Brian Evans, State Campaigns Director Monday, 07 October 2019 Posted in 2019

By Brian Evans, State Campaigns Director

On October 8, 2019, Independent Expert Manfred Nowak presented his Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty to the United Nations General Assembly, which had requested the study five years earlier. The ambitious attempt to comprehensively chronicle the various ways in which children throughout the world are deprived of their freedom and separated from their families naturally ran into problems with missing or incomplete data, but its recommendations provide a good roadmap for reforms countries like the United States should be pursuing, such as ending the prosecution of all children under age 14.

Remembering Joshua Samuels

Marcy Mistrett, CFYJ CEO Monday, 07 October 2019 Posted in 2019

Marcy Mistrett, CFYJ CEO

Last week, the movement lost a dedicated champion.  Joshua Samuels, who worked as a fellow for CFYJ last spring and this summer, passed away last week in a tragic accident.

Guest Column: Youth Justice Awareness Month- Educational Opportunities that Allow Youth Voice to be Heard

By Kat Crawford & Christina Campbell, Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings Friday, 04 October 2019 Posted in 2019

By Kat Crawford & Christina Campbell, Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings                        

Now I got to make a decision to be the person I want to be
I want this world to believe in me
I also got all these charges on me
I can’t change anyone but me
 (Lyrics written by an incarcerated youth)

Students attending schools in juvenile justice facilities historically have been terribly served (read: low academic expectations, curricula that is not engaging or rigorous, insufficient special education services, etc.).  What makes this especially tragic is that these young people need, and deserve, the best we have to offer.  Providing youth with quality educational services during their incarceration is essential to improving overall life chances and long-term outcomes.  Many students arrive at juvenile and adult facilities being disengaged from school, most often having experienced school failure and pushout.  By re-engaging in their education, students become equipped with new skills, refocused on their futures, and redirected onto a more productive path.


Brian Evans, CFYJ State Campaign Director Thursday, 26 September 2019 Posted in 2019

Brian Evans, CFYJ State Campaign Director

Tomorrow, on October 1, YJAM (Youth Justice Action Month) begins again. Since 2008, youth justice advocates around the country have come together to organize events and online activities to raise awareness and inspire action on behalf of young people impacted by our criminal justice system.

Importance of Trauma-Informed Practices in School

Antonino Grillo, CFYJ Fellow Tuesday, 24 September 2019 Posted in 2019

By Antonino Grillo, CFYJ Fellow

On Wednesday, September 11, 2019, the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing titled, “Importance of Trauma-Informed Practices in Education to Assist Students Impacted by Gun Violence and Other Adversities.” The hearing mainly focused on the damaging effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) on children, how to train teachers and support families to help the children succeed, and how to get funding for some programs that help students who have dealt with trauma. There were four witnesses on the panel, including Dr. Nadine Burke-Harris, Founder of the Center for Youth Wellness, American Pediatrician, and the first and current Surgeon General of California; Dr. Ingrida Barker, Associate Superintendent of McDowell County Schools in West Virginia; Ms. Joy Hofmeister, State Superintendent of Public Instruction in Oklahoma; Ms. Janet Jackson, CEO of the Chicago Public School System (CPS).

4 Letter Words

By Rachel Marshall, Federal Policy Counsel, Campaign for Youth Justice Paromita Shah, Executive Director, Just Futures Law Friday, 20 September 2019 Posted in 2019

By Rachel Marshall, Federal Policy Counsel, Campaign for Youth Justice Paromita Shah, Executive Director, Just Futures Law

As children, we all learn that there are certain words that are not polite or nice to say. Coincidentally, a lot of these forbidden words are four letters long. But what about the word gang? Was that ever a four letter word you weren’t allowed to use? If you are to believe the media and certain politicians, it’s certainly a word that should illicit fear, and one you would never want to be associated with.

Felony Murder – An Unjust Law That Needs to Go

Brain Evans, State Campaign Director Wednesday, 11 September 2019 Posted in 2019

On August 13, in Old Mill Creek, Lake County, Illinois, a 75-year-old homeowner woke up at about 1 am, heard noises, saw some kids around his car, yelled at them to leave, and, when one advanced on him with an object in his hand (allegedly a hunting knife), fired his gun and killed 14-year-old Jaquon Swopes. Murder charges were soon filed, but not against the homeowner. Instead first degree “felony murder” charges were filed against Jaquon’s five companions, all cousins of his between 16 and 18 years of age, who allegedly were attempting to break into the homeowner’s car.

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