Home News Center Youth Justice Reform Roundup August 2017

Youth Justice Reform Roundup August 2017

September 5, 2017
Josh Gordon

August Youth Justice Reform Roundup

Legislative Advances

NJJN member, Partnership for Safety and Justice (PSJ), helped pass legislation that prohibits youth under 18 from being incarcerated at an adult facility. Oregon also passed SB 82, which limits the use of solitary confinement at its facilities, which includes youth up to age 25 who were adjudicated as minors.

There has been a lot of good progress in Louisiana recently. NJJN member, Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights, pushed the Louisiana legislature to pass a measure to comprehensively improve the state’s juvenile expungement laws. The legislation makes all offenses eligible for expungement; eliminates the waiting period for all but the most serious offenses so that, when a case is closed, it is immediately expunged; and gets rid of all court fees associated with the process. LACCR also advocated for a new ordinance, which was passed by the New Orleans City Council that allows police officers to warn youth or issue them court summonses, rather than arresting the youth for minor offenses. The Louisiana  state legislature also passed a law to limit juvenile life without parole sentences. The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education promulgated new rules creating an accountability framework for the schools located inside of the state’s three long-term secure facilities for adjudicated teens.

NJJN member, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, worked to pass 4 bills.

  • HB 932 requires the collection of information on the number of youth who are committed to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department and who have been in foster care.  

  • HB 1521 promotes communication between the child welfare and the juvenile justice systems by requiring each agency, on request, to share information relating to dual-system youth with the goal of greater coordination of services.

  • SB 1304 provides for the automatic record sealing for youth charged in the juvenile justice system. 

  • SB 1548 allows counties to offer post-discharge services to a child who has completed probation, regardless of the child’s age.

NJJN Member, Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform, supported legislation establishing the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel to address systemic racial disparities in statewide systems of criminal and juvenile justice.

New Hampshire passed legislation that prohibits shackling of youth in court and prohibits state officials from advising youth to waive their right to counsel. 

A trial judge in Lexington, Kentucky found the Kentucky death penalty statute unconstitutional, and extended the Supreme Court’s ruling  in  Roper v. Simmons that executing youth under 18 is cruel and unusual punishment to defendants under 21 years old.

Governor Chris Christie has approved S677/A3677, a racial and ethnic impact statement bill. New Jersey is the fifth state to pass a law requiring policymakers to consider the racial and ethnic impact of certain policies—Iowa, Oregon, Connecticut, and Illinois have already implemented similar legislation.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed new laws to expand criminal record sealing and to make it easier for youth to expunge their records. In addition, Illinois passed HB 3165 which requires Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) staff to receive training in restorative justice practices.

Events and Actions

Join The Legal Center for Youth Justice and Education (LCYJE) on September 8th for a community conference call to discuss the unique education challenges of youth in the adult criminal justice system featuring NJJN's Youth Justice Leadership Institute alum Jeree Thomas.

The Georgetown Community Research Group is looking for youth under 18 who have had contact with the police and/or the court, as well as their parent/legal guardian to participate in an hour interview about the right to an attorney in juvenile court. Parents and youth will be interviewed separately and will receive $100 for participating. If interested please call or text 571-248-1099 for more information.

The OJJDP Tribal Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center has launched its new website. This website serves as a clearinghouse of culturally appropriate resources, training, and technical assistance to help OJJDP tribal grantees and federally recognized tribes improve, enhance, and support their juvenile justice systems.

S.M.A.R.T. (Student Multiethnic Action Research Team) is comprised of immigrant students and students of color organizing to fight for quality education, immigrant rights and language justice. Every summer around 15 to 20 students participate in a rigorous 6-week program that enhances their understanding of what is like to be a community organizer. You can donate to provide stipends for the youth organizers here.

The UDC David A. Clarke School of Law and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights will co-sponsor a panel discussion on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 from 5-8PM EST to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1957. Learn more and register here.

The Coalition for Juvenile Justice is expanding their Emerging Leaders Committee and seeking applications from young people aged 16-24. New members should click here to apply. Applications will be accepted until 12 pm ET on Friday, September 15, 2017.

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Incorporated (CBCF) and the Sojourner Truth Legacy Project, in conjunction with the women of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), will be hosting a town hall on “Black Women and Girls in the U.S. Criminal Justice System: From School to Prison Pipeline.” The assembly will take place Wednesday, September 20, 2017 from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m., in room 206 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

JustLeadershipUSA is accepting applications for their Leading with Conviction (LwC) program. LwC is an advanced leadership training specifically tailored for formerly incarcerated (anyone who has been incarcerated or under supervision in the criminal or juvenile justice systems), mid-senior level leaders with a specific and proven track record in advocacy, activism and community organizing.

Publications/Resources/Noteworthy Press

NJJN member Youth First has released a youth justice and electoral advocacy toolkit to provide the basics about how to engage in the political process; how to educate those seeking office about the issues facing youth involved in the juvenile justice system, and how to help those who care about youth justice issues register to vote.

A new report from the Movement Advancement Project, Youth First and Center for American Progress details the overrepresentation of, bias against, and abuse of LGBTQ youth in the juvenile justice system.

NJJN member, JauNae Hanger, president of the Children's Policy & Law Initiative of Indiana, tells NPR that Indiana and other states must reconsider the age at which brains have fully developed. Read the full story.

Impact Justice release a new report titled, Restorative Community Conferencing: A study of Community Works West’s restorative justice youth diversion program in Alameda County.

<- Go Back