Home Our Work Youth Justice Action Month #YJAM2021 Recap

Youth Justice Action Month #YJAM2021 Recap

What You Need to Know (and Do) in October & Beyond

Since 2008, youth justice advocates have come together in October for Youth Justice Action Month (YJAM), to share knowledge and concrete actions to transform our youth legal systems so they can be truly just.

YJAM 2021 was jointly hosted by the Coalition for Juvenile Justice (CJJ) and the National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN). This year’s theme was “Acting to End Racism: Pursuing Equity through Policy.”

It is time for real action. The youth criminal legal system is far from just.  Despite lowering crime rates and a global pandemic putting everyone’s health at risk, our youth remain over-policed, over-incarcerated, and over-criminalized, pushing predominately Black and Brown children into a system that causes irreparable harm.  We can do better — for youth, families, communities, and public safety.  

Throughout October, through workshops, social media campaigns and legislative advocacy, #YJAM2021 partners came together to elevate policy steps necessary to transform the youth legal system and create a true system of justice. Check out the highlights below, and ways you can stay engaged and continue the momentum all year long.

2021 Highlights:

Advocacy on the Hill: The White House, U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives released proclamations recognizing October as Youth Justice Action Month! Also on the Hill, advocates joined U.S. Representative Tony Carndenas for a press conference on the importance of treating children as children. And advocates across the country participated in a week of federal advocacy during "Hill Week."

Press Conference with Representative Tony Cardenas

A New Vision of Youth Justice: All month long, advocates declared a new vision of justice for youth, rooted in the belief that kids need care and compassion not courts.

Represent Justice - YJAM FACEBOOK LIVE Video

Care not Cages:
States have begun building better futures for youth by closing youth prisons, ending contracts with dangerous for-profit residential treatment centers, and committing to reductions in congregate care.  Our vision of youth justice is within reach!

Graphic with Paris Hilton Photo and pull quote from the article

Media Education Series: During YJAM, NJJN held part one of our two-part reporter education series, "Covering the Youth Justice Beat," to help reporters cover youth legal issues with nuance, context and dignity for youth and families.

Girls Justice Day: Rights4Girls hosted the 6th Annual Girls’ Justice Day on Thursday, October 28th, 2021. Girls’ Justice Day is a day to raise awareness about the conditions that fuel the criminalization of girls across the country during Youth Justice Action Month (YJAM). Visit the hashtag #GirlsJusticeDay on social media to view posts across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

YJAM Around the Country

Stay Active!

We need everyone to keep speaking out and advocating for a new vision of youth justice! Here are ways you can stay active!