Home News Center Youth Justice Reform Roundup February 2018

Youth Justice Reform Roundup February 2018

February 7, 2018
Josh Gordon

Legislative Advances

New Jersey set to close two of the state's youth prisons thanks to the advocacy of NJJN member New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. Learn more.

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed racial and ethnic impact statement legislation that will provide an opportunity for lawmakers to address the state’s high rate of racial disparity in incarceration. Thanks to the advocacy of NJJN member New Jersey Youth Justice Coalition.

Wisconsin plans to close a youth prison due to the strong advocacy of Youth Justice Milwaukee and Youth First.

In a unanimous vote, the Seattle King County Council banned the use of solitary confinement for youth in detention.

California will become the first state to stop jailing poor children who can’t afford to pay court fines and fees. Learn more.  

View a snapshot of nationwide legislative advances in 2017 and the NJJN members who pushed for those reforms.


Read NJJN Executive Director Sarah Bryer’s op-ed on three ways to change the negative narrative about youth of color.

NJJN member, Advocates for Children and Youth, launched ReThink Baltimore, a public education campaign to change the conversation around youth justice.

NJJN member, Youth Justice Project NC, recently released its Racial Equity Report Cards which detail the state’s use of disproportionate discipline.

The New England Patriots published an op-ed in the Boston Globe urging Massachusetts to pass legislation to exclude children under 12 from the justice system, and raise the age to include 18 year olds in the juvenile justice system!

NJJN member Texas Criminal Justice Coalition published The Second Look Book, a collection of stories from women and men in Texas, asking for a second chance after being sentenced to 40 - 75 years, or life in prison.

NJJN partner, Campaign for Youth Justice, details benefits of raising the age in Missouri.

The Muskie School of Public Service and the University of Maine School of Law are calling for a shift away from youth prisons like Long Creek in South Portland to non-residential community-based programs and services. Learn more.

Police killings of unarmed people rose slightly from the 2016 level, but were lower than the 2015 level, indicating that increased attention to de escalation techniques continue to bear results. Still, black males are disproportionately shot and killed. Read our latest recommendations for improving the relationship between law enforcement and youth of color here.

Oregon Council on Civil Rights released a report documenting the harmful impact of Measure 11’s mandatory minimums.

A new report from the W. Haywood Burns Institute, “Unlocking Opportunity: How Race, Ethnicity, and Place Affect the Use of Institutional Placements in California” presents an analysis of available state and county level data about the use of out of home placement in the state. While the overall likelihood of out of home placement is dependent upon location, youth of color are more likely than white youth to be sent out of home in 41 of California’s 58 counties.

ACLU of New Jersey released “Missed Opportunities: Youth Diversionary Programs in New Jersey,” which describes strategies to stop the criminalization of youth, specifically programs that allow young people to avoid arrest for low-level offenses.

In its new report, Transformational Relationships for Youth Success, the Center for the Study of Social Policy explores what works to form transformational relationships with youth.

The National Youth Employment Coalition and Youth Advocate Programs recently published a new report, New Funds for Work: Connecting Systems for Justice-Involved Young People.

The American Youth Policy Forum, National Reentry Resource Center, and Council of State Governments Justice Center have released a new policy brief that provides state and local policymakers as well as education and juvenile justice leaders with information about how they can use requirements under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to improve education and workforce outcomes for youth in long-term juvenile justice facilities.


Ceres Policy Research is starting a project to help youth justice systems reduce disparities across race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression (SOGIE). They will train three to five sites to collect and analyze SOGIE data, develop policies to protect SOGIE data, and provide recommendations on re-entry and community supervision programs for LGBTQ youth.  Probation departments and other youth serving organizations are encouraged to review the request for applications and apply by the March 9 deadline. The applications can be found here. Contact Dr. Angela Irvine at airvine@cerespolicyresearch.com with any questions.  

The Center for Juvenile Justice Reform (CJJR) recently released a request for applications for the Youth in Custody Certificate Program, which will be held at Georgetown University June 11-15, 2018.

NJJN member Justice League NYC is hiring a deputy director.

Youth First seeks a project manager.

TeamChild is seeking law student interns for the summer of 2018.

Georgetown University's Prisons and Justice Initiative seeks special programs coordinator.

Wellspring Philanthropic Fund seeks racial justice program assistant.

Columbia University Justice Lab has five new positions. Info on the positions and how to apply can be found here under "Join our Team."

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center is hiring a Policy Attorney in their Washington, D.C. office.

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