The National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) leads a movement of state-based juvenile justice reform organizations and alumni of its Youth Justice Leadership Institute to fight for a fairer youth justice system that’s appropriate for youth and their families. NJJN advocates for policies and practices that treat youth in trouble with the law with dignity and humanity and which strengthen them, their families and their communities. Founded in 2005, NJJN is currently comprised of 51 organizational members in 41 states and the District of Columbia.
The only organization of its kind in the United States, NJJN is a membership-led organization that exists to support and enhance the work of state-based juvenile justice advocates, and to join and raise their voices in demanding change both locally and nationally. Initially formed by a small and dedicated group of local organizations that recognized a need for an increased focus on state-level change, peer support and a national presence, the network has grown by connecting these organizations to others across the country and amplifying their individual successes and struggles in order to achieve collective gain. Through education, technical assistance, community-building and leadership development, NJJN provides strategic and substantive assistance to state-based change agents to help them address a wide array of juvenile justice reform needs.
NJJN recognizes that its work for state-level policy reform must take place in partnership with the larger movement for racial justice. As part of this approach, NJJN purposefully looks to elevate and learn from those individuals and groups that are most negatively affected by our justice systems’ policies and to analyze all reforms in light of the larger systemic barriers to justice.
Principles of Juvenile Justice Reform
NJJN and its members adhere to these guiding principles of reform:
- Divert Youth from the Justice System
- Reduce Institutionalization
- Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Disparities
- Ensure Access to Quality Counsel
- Create a Range of Effective Community-Based Programs
- Recognize and Serve Youth with Specialized Needs
- Improve Aftercare and Reentry
- Engage Youth, Family, and Community
- Keep Youth Out of Adult Courts, Jails, and Prisons