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About Us

The National Juvenile Justice Network leads a membership community of 60 state-based organizations and numerous individuals across 42 states and D.C. We all seek to shrink our youth justice systems and transform the remainder into systems that treat youth and families with dignity and humanity. Our work is premised on the fundamental understanding that our youth justice systems are inextricably bound with the systemic and structural racism that defines our society; as such we seek to change policy and practice through an anti-racist lens by building power with those who are most negatively affected by our justice systems, including young people, their families and all people of color. We also recognize that other vulnerable populations - including LGBTQIA+, those with disabilities and mental illness, girls and immigrants - are disparately and negatively impacted by our justice systems, and thus we also seek to center their concerns in our policy change work.

The only organization of its kind in the United States, NJJN is a membership-led organization that exists to support and enhance the work of state-based juvenile justice advocates, and to join and raise their voices in demanding change both locally and nationally. Initially formed by a small and dedicated group of local organizations that recognized a need for an increased focus on state-level change, peer support and a national presence, the network has grown by connecting these organizations to others across the country and amplifying their individual successes and struggles in order to achieve collective gain. Through education, technical assistance, community-building and leadership development, NJJN provides strategic and substantive assistance to state-based change agents to help them address a wide array of juvenile justice reform needs. 

NJJN recognizes that its work for state-level policy reform must take place in partnership with the larger movement for racial justice. As part of this approach, NJJN purposefully looks to elevate and learn from those individuals and groups that are most negatively affected by our justice systems’ policies and to analyze all reforms in light of the larger systemic barriers to justice. 

 

Principles of Youth Justice Reform

NJJN and its members all agree to pursue their work with an anti-racist lens. We also adhere to the following principles of reform:

These principles and the associated text draw heavily from “Juvenile Justice Reform: A Blueprint,” developed by the Youth Transition Funders Group. Each NJJN member conducts state-based work on at least of these two principles.