Home News Center Youth Justice Reform Roundup - March 2018

Youth Justice Reform Roundup - March 2018

April 4, 2018
Josh Gordon


Legislative Advances/Actions

Until the passage of SB 6550 in Washington State, prosecutors were severely limited in their ability to divert youth from the justice system.  But thanks to the advocacy of NJJN member TeamChild, Washington recently passed SB 6550, which revises the Juvenile Justice Act of 1977. Learn more.

Washington State recently passed a new law that extends juvenile jurisdiction for certain crimes to 25. The move intends to not only reduce the number of people incarcerated in prison, but also reduce recidivism rates and improve racial disparities in sentencing.

Thanks to the advocacy of NJJN member ACLU of South Carolina, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued a decision citing that “disturbing schools statute” led to the mass incarceration of students and hindered students’ right to freedom of expression.

Thanks to the advocacy of NJJN member Legal Aid Justice Center, SB 170 is headed to the Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s desk. The legislation is an effort to dramatically curb suspensions of young students in grades pre-K through third grade. The bill caps most all suspensions of children in these grades at no more than three days.

NJJN member Legal Aid Justice Center also successfully pushed HB 1600, which is awaiting Governor Northam’s pen. This bipartisan bill  narrows the length of most all long-term suspensions to a period of 11-45 days, down from its current span of 11-364 days, in an effort to reduce school pushout.

Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker signed a bill to close Lincoln Hills, a troubled youth prison,and authorized funding for new facilities across the state. NJJN hopes the money is also used for services and programs as alternatives to incarceration.

The NFL Players Coalition met with key legislative and administration leaders to advocate for juvenile justice reform proposed by NJJN’s Massachusetts’ member, Citizens for Juvenile Justice. Learn more.

NJJN member Children's Policy and Law Initiative of Indiana advocated for the passage of HB 1421, a school discipline bill. The bill provides that the Department of Education (DOE) will create a model, evidence-based positive school discipline plan with the goals of reducing out-of-school suspension rates and disproportionality in discipline; limit referrals to law enforcement or arrest on school property; and include policies to address instances of bullying and cyberbullying. It also provides that beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, the DOE will provide information and assistance to school corporations for implementation of their evidence-based plans and provision of professional developments. Finally, the bill calls for establishment of an interim study committee on the use of positive school discipline practices, and requires the DOE to conduct a survey to determine the extent to which positive discipline and restorative justice practices are already being used in schools.

NJJN member Children's Policy and Law Initiative of Indiana also advocated for the passage of HB 1228. The legislation requires the criminal justice institute to: (1) track certain information concerning youth under the jurisdiction of an adult court due to a juvenile court not having jurisdiction; (2) track certain information concerning waivers of juvenile court jurisdiction; and (3) publish the information annually.

NJJN member JUSTGeorgia successfully pushed HB 740. HB 740 requires local school systems to engage in a multi-tiered system of supports, such as response to intervention, (unless the student possessed a weapon, drugs, or other dangerous instrument or his/her behavior endangers the physical safety of students or school personnel) for a student in preschool through third grade prior to expelling or suspending for five or more consecutive or cumulative days. The bill awaits transmission to the Governor’s desk.

NJJN member JUSTGeorgia also successfully pushed HB 763 which expands the student attendance protocol committees to assess school climate. The bill also requires local boards of education to report aggregated student discipline data (in addition to student attendance rates) to the committee and the State Board of Education at the end of each school year. The bill awaits transmission to the Governor’s desk.


The YWCA will hold a policy briefing on ending racial profiling and the overcriminalization of women and girls of color Thursday, April 26 from 11:30 - 1:30pm in D.C. Register here.

Life, Death, Life Again: Children Sentenced to Die in Prison is a verbatim theater piece by Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg of NJJN member New Jersey Institute for Social Justice that shares the stories of four people sentenced to die in prison for violent crimes committed as children, and a victim’s grandson who chose to lead with forgiveness. Two shows in April in Highland Park, NJ.

The Council of State Governments Justice Center, Robert F. Kennedy National Resource Center on Juvenile Justice, and American Probation and Parole Association have partnered to host a symposium at APPA’s 43rd Annual Training Institute on the future of juvenile community supervision. Learn more.

The Center for Juvenile Justice Reform and the Council of State Governments Justice Center will host the 2018 Janet Reno Forum in Washington, D.C. on May 21st at Georgetown University.


NJJN member Maine Center for Juvenile Policy and Law proposes broad changes to Maine’s youth justice system. Learn more.

UCLA study finds early childhood incarceration is linked to high rates of severe physical and mental health issues in adulthood.

The Borealis Philanthropy is providing funds for groups transforming policing. Learn more.

Rights4Girls and the Georgetown Juvenile Justice Initiative released a new report, Beyond the Walls: A Look at Girls in D.C.’s Juvenile Justice System, which examines girls' increased contact with the juvenile justice system in D.C.

Texans Care for Children released a new report that explains that suspending pre-k through second grade students is ineffective and counterproductive.

Youth First Initiative released a short film entitled “Jim Crow Juvenile Justice,” which reveals the slavery-era origins of youth prisons and examines today’s juvenile justice system from a racial-justice lens.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation released a new juvenile justice publication, Noncitizen Youth in the Youth Justice System: 2018 Update.

The Sentencing Project released an analysis that at the current rate, the prison population won’t be cut in half for another 75 years.  

The Schott Foundation for Public Education & Communities for Just Schools Fund produced a series of 3 webinars that take a holistic approach to the problems of classroom safety, policing, & the school-to-prison pipeline. Watch them here.

NPR produced podcasts on young people caught in the justice system. Listen here.

Preventing Homelessness for System-Involved Youth addresses the role of judges and other stakeholders in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems in preventing homelessness.

Ready to Launch: A Campaign Starter Toolkit to Close Youth Prisons, the Youth First Initiative, provides step-by-step instructions for building a campaign to close youth prisons and contains many tips and strategies that could be useful to other grassroots movements as well.

The Campaign for Youth Justice issued a new policy brief:  "Youth Transfer: The Importance of Individualized Factor Review".

The Carolina Youth Action Project released a new video exploring people's knowledge and opinions surrounding the Raise the Age campaign and youth incarceration. YJLI alum Tracey Tucker is coordinating the campaign in the state.

The Blueprint for Change: Education Success for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System, an interactive online tool that includes 10 comprehensive goals and corresponding benchmarks to improve educational outcomes for youth in the juvenile justice system.

Following up on the March 2017 release of Unsealed Fate: The Unintended Consequences of Inadequate Safeguarding of Juvenile Records in Maine, which found widespread misinformation about what it means to have a juvenile record in Maine, this new fact sheet answers some of the most frequently asked questions.


NJJN member Kansas Appleseed is hiring a campaign director and policy research analyst. Learn more.

NJJN member New Jersey Institute for Social Justice is looking for a law and policy director and a development associate. More here.

The National Center for Youth Law has a variety of job openings.

Youth Radio has development openings.

Justice Policy Institute is looking for a director of research and policy and a communications associate. Learn more.

NYU Wagner Capstone offers graduate students to help you solve your organization’s critical challenge. Learn more.

The California Alliance for Youth and Community Justice seeks a Director of the Alliance.

NCCD has openings in Madison, Wisconsin, and in Oakland, California. Apply here.

YWCA USA is hiring for two positions on their Public Policy and Advocacy team.

The Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project is hiring a supervising attorney.

The United States and the Commonwealth are seeking applications for an independent Monitor to assess compliance with a judicially-enforceable Settlement Agreement regarding conditions in the Commonwealth’s juvenile detention and treatment facilities administered by Puerto Rico’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. More here.

MomsRising is putting together a book of stories from parents, caregivers, teachers and other school staff about the school to prison pipeline. Share your story.

The Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings is accepting submissions for Words Unlocked 2018, a month-long poetry writing initiative and competition.

Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) is hiring a Director of Organizing and Community Building.


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