Families & Allies of Virginia's Youth
701 S. Wayne Street
Arlington, VA 22204
Families & Allies of Virginia's Youth (FAVY) started as a group of concerned advocates and family members of young people in Beaumont Juvenile Correctional Center. We could see that the juvenile justice system was not working for our children. We decided to form a group to push for changes at Beaumont and statewide.
We are especially concerned about Virginia’s youth prisons and the conditions inside them. It costs $102,204 to hold a youth in a juvenile prison for one year. But youth prisons are a failed, outdated approach. About two-thirds of kids released from
these facilities are convicted of a new crime within three years.
Children confined in Virginia’s youth prisons are often far from their families and community, making a successful transition home difficult. Many children in the juvenile justice system have mental health needs that are not adequately met in the youth prisons.
Youth of color are dramatically overrepresented at every level of Virginia’s juvenile justice system. This is especially true of the youth prisons, where 72% of the youth are African American or Latino, even though they are 30% of Virginia’s youth population.
There Is a Better Way!
We speak out and seek fair and effective treatment for all young people in Virginia’s juvenile justice system. Instead of youth prisons, we are pushing for Virginia to use a system of small, local rehabilitation programs based on proven models. This will give our young people the best chance at success and do a better job of maintaining public safety. Other states have done this, and it works!
We support prevention and diversion efforts that keep kids out of the system. This includes adequate community mental health treatment.
JustChildren, Legal Aid Justice Center
1000 Preston Avenue, Suite A
Charlottesville, VA 22903
Phone: 434-977-0553 x110
Phone: 434-977-0553 x146
The Legal Aid Justice Center’s JustChildren Program is Virginia’s largest children’s law program. We rely on a range of strategies to make sure that Virginia’s most vulnerable young people receive the services and support they need to lead successful lives in their communities.
We provide free civil legal representation to low-income children statewide who have problems with the education, foster care, and juvenile justice systems. While the kinds of cases we take vary, our primary objective is to protect our clients’ right to stay in their communities and in their schools, and to live in safe situations. The children we represent have a wide variety of needs.
To make sure that more clients have strong support, we produce widely read and valued training materials for lawyers and parents alike, and travel throughout the state training parents, lawyers, and other child-serving professionals to become informed and skilled advocates.
To further strengthen the communities we serve, we support local organizing efforts and coalition building in the communities we serve. We have helped parents and community members start groups in Richmond and Petersburg that are dedicated to improving educational opportunities for children in those cities.
The JustChildren Program seeks local and statewide reforms to improve the systems that our children depend on. We change policies to improve public education and the juvenile justice system. Through coalition building, policy advocacy, and litigation, we make lasting improvements for all children in Virginia.
Found 18 matches.
This report on the school-to-prison pipeline documents school suspensions/expulsions in Virginia, the negative impact of harsh school disciplinary policies on students and community safety, and offers evidence that an existing program within the schools dramatically reduces the need for expulsion an suspensions, by teaching and supporting positive behavior.
Creates a presumption that transferred or certified youth, if confined pre-trial, stay in juvenile detention rather than adult jails, unless a judge finds them to be a safety or security risk.
Youth in Virginia who are transferred to the adult system must now be placed in a secure juvenile detention facility pending trial, rather than an adult jail, unless the court determines that the youth is a threat to the security or safety of other detained youth or staff
Report criticizing policy changes made by the Virginia legislature in the 1990s that have unnecessarily swept too many youth into the adult system.
Virginia public schools may no longer suspend students solely based on truancy issues. Prior to the legislative change, over 15,000 students were suspended each year for being tardy or truant.
The commission found that recidivism rates increase significantly when juveniles are tried in adult court and that youth are often required to plead guilty in order to avoid transfer to adult court. The commission recommends that judges be given sole discretion to transfer youth and that the state should limit the number of crimes eligible for transfer. The study also reports that African American youth are twice as likely as white youth to be committed to juvenile correctional facilities.
Assessing Consistency and Fairness in Sentencing: A Comparative Study in Three States, National Center for State Courts
Report examining significantly different sentencing guidelines in three states: Virginia, where the guidelines are mandatory; Michigan, which offers some judicial discretion; and Minnesota, which has the most mandatory system of the three. The study concludes that regardless of the amount of judicial discretion, the guidelines result in consistent sentences that generally are not influenced by race and economic status. The study also notes the marked contrast of its findings to the inconsistent and discriminatory sentencing practices that were documented in each state before the implementation of the sentencing guidelines.
Makes carnal knowledge a sexually violent offense only when the perpetrator is more than five years older than the victim and previously convicted of any two or more sexually violent offenses.
Virginia Improves Compensation for Court-Appointed Counsel for Juveniles, Virginia, S.B. 610/Chapter 760
Moves to remedy the notoriously low compensation of court-appointed attorneys for juveniles.
Virginia Allows Juveniles Given Blended Sentences to Earn Sentence Credits, Virginia, H.B. 1207/Chapter 517
Juveniles convicted as adults and given blended sentences are eligible to earn sentence credits while at the juvenile facility.
What Will it Cost States to Comply with the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act?, Justice Policy Institute
Report providing a chart that shows that for all states, the first-year cost of implementing SORNA outweighs the cost of losing 10 percent of the state's Byrne Grant money (the consequence of not complying with SORNA by July 2009). The sheet also gives detailed information on the cost analyses performed by Ohio and Virginia.
Virginia Permits Blended Sentences for Juveniles Convicted of Capital Murder, Virginia, H.B. 2053/Chapter 460
Mandates that juveniles convicted of capital murder may only be sentenced by the court (rather than by juries), and the court may impose blended sentences.
Requires that youth are convicted in the first offense in order to be tried as an adult in future offenses.
Requires that juveniles charged with felonies can only waive counsel if they consult with an attorney, and the court determines that the waiver is voluntary and in writing, that the child and parent consent, and that it is consistent with the interests of the child.
Requires the Board of Juvenile Justice to consult with the Board of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services to create regulations for the planning of mental health, substance abuse and other treatment services for youth returning from corrections or detention.
A Summary of Best Practices in School Reentry of Incarcerated Youth Returning Home, JustChildren, Legal Aid Justice Center
Memorandum analyzing national school re-enrollment research and identifying four characteristics of best practices for school reentry: (1) clear roles and responsibilities between different agencies and the community; (2) youth and family involvement in the reentry process; (3) speedy placement into school immediately following release; and (4) appropriate placement individualized for each student.
Requires that youth receive counsel prior to initial detention hearing. It also makes it more difficult for youth to waive counsel by requiring that youth who face charges that could place them in a juvenile correctional center first consult with an attorney.