September 13, 2012
Imagine a school board without any parents on it. In essence, that’s how the juvenile justice system is run, says Liane Rozzell, who directs NJJN member Families & Allies of Virginia’s Youth. Yet "[f]amilies are the best source of quality control for the juvenile justice system that we have," as Grace Bauer, co-director of Justice for Families, said recently.
To give voice to the thousands of hardworking families struggling to navigate the juvenile justice system and help their children succeed, Justice for Families has just released a groundbreaking report. “Families Unlocking Futures: Solutions to the Crisis in Juvenile Justice " is based on more than 1,000 surveys and 24 focus groups with families of youth who have been in the justice system.
The report shows the many ways justice systems have failed youth, families and communities. It also proposes solutions for transforming youth justice to help our youth succeed and keep our communities safe.
Among the findings:
- Families want to be involved when their children get in trouble. Ninety-one percent of the family members surveyed said that courts should involve families more in decisions about what happens when a youth is found delinquent. Unfortunately, more than 80 percent also said they were never asked by the judge what should happen to their child.
- Families want to be part of the solution on a policy level as well. An overwhelming 92 percent of families surveyed said that families should be part of policy discussions and decisions about how juvenile justice systems work and what kinds of programs are available.
The report features startling stories of kids incarcerated for years for minor infractions, profiles of parent advocates, as well as data, charts, and recommendations. Many people and organizations gave their time to create the report, including NJJN members like Families & Allies of Virginia’s Youth, Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC), and the Youth Justice Coalition in Los Angeles.
Please read and share this information widely. Let's get more families and community members involved in the movement to transform youth justice!