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Empowering Justice-Involved Youth Leaders

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More than a decade ago, the National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) published a report on the importance of developing youth leaders in the juvenile justice advocacy space. However, the field still has not fully answered this call. Largely across our community, the leadership and expertise of justice-involved youth remains untapped or is utilized in ways that are disempowering and mirror the exploitative systems that we, as advocates,are seeking to dismantle.

If we, as a community, do not center and empower justice-involved youth leaders, we will be left behind. Young people are leading and they are not waiting for others to make room for them.

Without justice-involved youth leaders, the systemic change within the juvenile justice system that advocates and organizations across the country are fighting for will not be sustained, nor will it have the impact needed to truly realize justice for youth, families, and marginalized communities.

This guide seeks to provide NJJN membership and the juvenile justice field broadly, with fundamental principles for developing directly-impacted youth leaders. These principles are reinforced by the practical tools provided in this guide for empowering, protecting, supporting, recruiting, and sustaining justice-involved youth leaders. 

Read the full practioner's guide, Empowering Justice-Involved Youth.