JJDPA Matters

16
Oct

#YJAM: The Harm of Prosecuting Children as Adults

By Theodore Shaw
JD Candidate
University of Washington School of Law

As a teenager, unjustly prosecuted and imprisoned, I spent almost eight months in a parish jail, in Louisiana, pending trial in the adult criminal court. As the deputy moved me down the dark hall of the jail, escorting me to my cell, a detainee—an adult much older than me—screamed at me, “Fresh meat!” I started crying profusely. My experiences incarcerated with the adults, as I learned quickly, worsen from this point.

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09
Oct

On Capitol Hill, a Bipartisan - and Personal - Call to Renew the JJDPA

On October 8, 2015, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Workforce held a hearing, Reviewing the Juvenile Justice System and How It Serves At-Risk Youth.

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05
Oct

Halting the Criminalization of Adolescence

By Adam Clark, Policy Associate, Collier Collective

In September, during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's 45th Annual Legislative Conference, Robert F. Kennedy Juvenile Justice Collaborative co-hosted an event with honorary host Congressman William Lacy Clay (D-MO-1) entitled “Halting the Criminalization of Adolescence: Youth Perspectives and Best Practices to Improve Youth Health, Justice, and Education.” The event featured two panel discussions, including a first panel of young adults who previously had been impacted by the justice system and who now are working to reform the system as well as tackle other barriers faced by youth, including lack of access to education, health care, and economic opportunity.

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02
Oct

Changing Youth Lives Through Testimony and Awareness

By Alton Pitre

Several years ago I found myself facing adult time as a teen in Los Angeles. I was held in detention for two years, serving dead time fighting my “fitness,” a court process where they were “determining” if I would be tried as a juvenile or an adult for a crime for which I was later exonerated. Presuming that I would be charged as an adult, I was housed separately from other youth in the detention center, even though we were all the same age. Through the years I spent pending my trial and since my release, I’ve learned that the juvenile justice system is failing our youth all over the nation, and it is time for everyone to realize that in its current state it is destructive and ineffective.

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