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Voices

Remembering Michael Brown; Police Don’t Create Safety, Communities do

Tuesday, 08 August 2017 Posted in Voices

By Aprill O. Turner, Communications Director

Today we reflect on the memory of Mike Brown, the 18-year old unarmed black teen fatally shot six times, twice in the head, by Ferguson, Mo. police officer, Darren Wilson. The 2014  shooting prompted protests across the nation for weeks. The gripping images of a blood-covered white sheet lying over the form of his motionless body for hours will forever be etched in our memories. As will the image of another black mother with tears streaming down her face grieving the loss of her son to this senseless, yet all too common scenario.Three years and many more police-involved shootings later, we ask ourselves, is this what public safety looks like in our communities?

The Youth Who Remain: Pedro Hernandez and the Youth who Remain on Rikers Island until the Implementation of the Raise the Age Law

Thursday, 27 July 2017 Posted in Voices

By Eunice Revis, Juvenile Justice Fellow, and Jeree Thomas, Policy Director

In April, Governor Cuomo signed a budget bill that included language to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction so that the majority of 16 and 17-year olds would no longer be incarcerated, tried, or treated as adults. However, the legislation does not go into effect until October 1, 2018 for 16-year olds and October 2019 for 17-year olds. In addition, it bans the placement of youth under 18 in adult facilities by October 2018.  Finally, the law stops short of protecting all youth under age 18; it allows youth age 14 and older to still be tried as adults if they are charged with serious felonies; as is the case with Bronx Teen, Pedro Hernandez.

2017 Summer Institute: Session 2 – Youth in Solitary Confinement

Wednesday, 26 July 2017 Posted in Voices

By Eunice Revis, Juvenile Justice Fellow

On July 24, 2017, the Campaign for Youth Justice Fellows hosted the second session of the 2017 Summer Institute for interns and fellows from various juvenile justice organizations to discuss the effects of solitary confinement on children. The Campaign was thrilled to have Jenny Lutz, the Campaign Manager for the Stop Solitary for Kids Campaign, and staff attorney at the Center for Children’s Law and Policy (CCLP) - an organization focused on eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system, reducing the unnecessary and inappropriate incarceration of children, and eliminating dangerous and inhumane practices for youth in custody.

Parenting Without A Voice

Thursday, 20 July 2017 Posted in Voices

By Michelle Hannemann

When children are charged as adults; their parents aren’t notified of their arrest, or that the police are interrogating them in connection with a crime.  Michelle found it out the hard way, when her 16 year old high school junior was arrested and charged with a felony as an adult.  Based heavily on the statement he provided to the police (without any legal representation), he was waived to adult court and sentenced to 5 years in prison. Michelle’s son was then released on an electronic bracelet, and resentenced in 2016 after appealing his first sentence.. Through this hardship, Michelle has learned a lot about the justice system, and how harmful it is for children to be treated as adults.

In honor of Parents' Day, Michelle tells the story of how hard it is to be a parent when you no longer have a voice. 

Brady’s Story: How a “Child in Need of Supervision” Dies in Juvenile Detention

Tuesday, 20 June 2017 Posted in Voices

Why the U.S. Senate Needs to Reauthorize the Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Act

By Jeree Thomas, Esq. and Dawn Folkens, mother of Brady Alan Folkens

“Today I woke up feeling like complete [crap]. It has only gotten worse so far. I anticipate feeling bad tomorrow as well. But hopefully I’ll be better by Saturday when my mom comes to visit.” – Brady Folkens, December 19th- Brady’s final journal entry.

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.

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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