Youth Justice Action Month Blog

YouthJustice, Inc.: Using Legal Education to Disrupt the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Monday, 30 October 2017

By Dionna Y. Shinn, Esq., Founder, CEO of Youth Justice, Inc.

Currently, youth around the country face unprecedented challenges in schools. The creation of zero-tolerance discipline policies, increased police presence in the form of School Resource Officers (SROs), excessive suspensions for minor infractions and misuse of expulsions have created an antagonistic and intimidating education environment. Youth find themselves treated more like punitively controlled agents, rather than students in need of academic and socio-emotional support. These occurrences have created a disturbing movement known as the School-to-Prison Pipeline.

Businesses Building a Better Way for Formerly Incarcerated Youth

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

By Rachel Kenderdine, Operations & Human Resources Manager

This week, as a part of October’s Youth Justice Action Month (YJAM), we are celebrating Alternative Pathways out of the adult system. For many youth prosecuted and incarcerated in the adult criminal justice system, life after release is challenging. Adult criminal charges can often act as a prison sentence, even once youth are no longer behind bars—opportunities to get a job, especially one with a livable wage, to attend college, and even to find housing are limited, since many establishments will not even consider an applicant if they have a past felony charge. Since 90% of incarcerated youth return home before their 25th birthday, these young people often feel that their hopes for a future are dashed before they have a chance to show their potential.

Should Troubled Teens Go to Wilderness Programs or Boot Camps?

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Should Troubled Teens Go to Wilderness Programs or Boot Camps?

This blog was originally posted on Multisystemic Therapy' Services's website. We are reposting it with their authorization. 

If you're thinking of sending your teen to a wilderness program or boot camp, think twice.

It's not uncommon for an overwhelmed parent to say, “I need to send him [or her] someplace else.” Whether a young person is running away, refusing to attend school, using drugs or is involved in crime, many parents come to believe military-style boot camps or wilderness programs are the only options left. Heavily marketed and popularized in the 1990s, some parents see boot camps as the way to send a clear message to their kids that their behavior will no longer be tolerated.

Girls' Justice Day

Friday, 20 October 2017

Girls' Justice Day

By Cherice Hopkins, Esq. and Hayley Carlisle

Today is Girls’ Justice Day, a day during Youth Justice Action Month that serves as a reminder to uplift and reflect on the unique experiences of girls in the juvenile justice system. It is particularly significant that Girls’ Justice Day also takes place during Domestic Violence Awareness Month because for most justice-involved girls, their paths into the juvenile justice system begin with abuse. 

Chainbreaker

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Chainbreaker

Let’s break the chains of the black youth’s mind

So that they will remain devine

We were never monkeys swinging from vines

So never look down on own kind

National Coming Out Day for LGBTQ Youth In Detention?

Thursday, 12 October 2017

By Pepis Rodriguez

This week we recognized National Coming Out Day (NCOD), a celebration of living your truth about who you are, and whom you love.

But as “bathroom bills”, military transgender bans, and elimination of protections for LGBTQ federal employees demonstrate, we are still a long way from a society in which coming out is a realistic option for all. The truth of this likely hits youth the hardest, who still risk family rejection, bullying, even homelessness for coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer.

“Open Your Eyes!”

Thursday, 12 October 2017

“Open Your Eyes!”

About twenty of us laid in the grass in front of guard tower 13. Some were cuffed others had their arms thrown out above their heads. It was difficult to say who was maced or bruised as we were forced to lay on our stomachs & plant our faces in the earth. Some of the guards coughed from the mace that lingered & yelled at us to “stay the fuck down.” The struggle to maintain obedience was a challenge for some as they couldn’t stop themselves from grasping for air & trying to relieve their burning skin.

Coming Out for LGBTQ Youth in the Justice System

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Coming Out for LGBTQ Youth in the Justice System

By Molly Tafoya

Tomorrow, October 11th, is National Coming Out Day —a day to celebrate and support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) people—and young people in particular. And so today, as part of Youth Justice Action Month (YJAM), the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) and several other groups are highlighting the experiences of LGBTQ youth in the juvenile and criminal justice system.

Letter to my Mom

Thursday, 05 October 2017

Letter to my Mom

Mom;

Hello! How are you? I know it’s been a while, But I do think about you all the time. Thanks for the card and money order back in may. I would have writ back then, however, I’ve been dealing with some things. 

Create Justice

Thursday, 05 October 2017

By Kaile Shilling

What do you get when you bring together over one hundred juvenile justice activists, youth leaders, artists, and representatives from major foundations?  You get a powerful couple of days of dialogue and action around the intersection of arts and youth justice reform. 

An Adult Burden For My 13 Year-Old Son

Tuesday, 03 October 2017

By Heidi Nuttall

Since he was 13 we’ve fought a never ending battle. How do you protect a young boy from the justice system – a system that, now, we as a family feel we must fight?

Why must we? Our understanding had always been so different.

Youth Justice Action Month (YJAM) is here!

Monday, 02 October 2017

Youth Justice Action Month (YJAM) is here!

By Brian Evans, State Campaign Director

Youth Justice Action Month (YJAM) is here!

Last year, Youth Justice Awareness Month turned into Youth Justice Action Month in recognition of the remarkable growth in action oriented activism and advocacy that has emerged in recent years. For the past nine years, YJAM has encouraged people to organize events that raise awareness, strengthen coalitions, build campaigns, and encourage advocacy on behalf of young people in contact with the justice system.

Fight with Evil

Monday, 25 September 2017

Fight with Evil

By Joshua Aston

His name was Evil. He was the fourth cellie in my first month of being locked up. It was the first time I’d been locked up & was definitely going to be the last, and the process of meeting new people in this stressful environment was exhaustive. The first cellie of mine lasted a day while I went through orientation. Neither of us really slept; I suspect we didn’t know or trust eachother well enough. I got moved to another pod full of new & wild kids the next afternoon. The next cellie was a white boy that was full of excitement & drama. That only lasted a month before I got sent to the hole, a punishment for handling a situation wrongly. The concept of the “hole” was terrifying & I was obviously scared shitless; especially when I walked into a cell with my new cellie. He was a big white boy they all called ‘Big Country.’ I met him as he crawled out of the mattress. We wore only our boxers & were given no bedding when placed on the bread loaf program, but we got along well together & enjoyed each others company for the next week. After that I met Evil. 

Guest Column: Redeemed Juveniles Like Me Are Not the Exceptions

Sunday, 23 October 2016

By Xavier McElrath Bay, Youth Justice Advocate, The Campaign for Fair Sentencing of Youth

Today is special for me for several reasons.

For starters, I will have the honor of spending much of the day in a symposium at San Quentin State Prison in California. I especially look forward to sharing time with the members of KID C.A.T. (Creating Awareness Together), a group of individuals who were sentenced to life without parole when they were children. After years of incarceration, they created their own support group with a mission to organize acts of community service and goodwill.

Contact Us

Campaign for Youth Justice
1220 L Street, NW, Suite 605, Washington, DC, 20005.
www.campaignforyouthjustice.org