Home News Center Youth Justice Reform Roundup April 2018

Youth Justice Reform Roundup April 2018

May 7, 2018
Josh Gordon

Legislative Advances/Actions

NJJN member, Citizens for Juvenile Justice in Massachusetts, spearheaded efforts to include youth justice measures in legislation that completely changes their state's juvenile justice system. This monumental piece of legislation raises the minimum age of jurisdiction from 7 to 12, limits the role of SROs, expands expungement, creates parent child privilege, authorized judges to divert youth, bans shackling, creates a model code for solitary confinement, decriminalizes ordinances, raises the felony threshold, a creates a peer exception to Romeo and Juliet laws.

NJJN member Delaware Center for Justice helped pass 4 bills that: expand transfer discretion, repeals mandatory minimums for youth, enables a civil citation program, and removes pre-adjudicated youth being tried as adults from adult jails.  These now go the Governor for signature.

NJJN member Voices for Children in Nebraska successfully amended an existing bill, LB 670, to include provisions from LB 1112 which expressly prohibits the detention of children under age 13 under any circumstance, ensures that youth who pose no risk to community safety or flight won’t experience the harms of incarceration, allows flexible state grant funding for counties to create shelters as alternatives to detention, and requires counties to consider racial and ethnic disparity when creating comprehensive juvenile plans.

Since January, NJJN member Just City has served as counsel to a teenage girl being held in adult prison pre-trial; Just City led fierce advocacy on her behalf, and ultimately helped pass legislation that changed an unfair and inhumane state policy that resulted in teenage girls being sent to prison to await trial. See the timeline.

Maryland members Advocates for Children and Youth and Community Law in Action (CLIA) helped passed legislation that made an investment in youth justice programs that will fund violence intervention and prevention efforts (SB 545/HB 432). This legislation creates the Maryland Violence Intervention and Prevention Program Fund to support effective violence reduction strategies by providing competitive grants to local governments and nonprofit organizations to fund evidence-based programs, with the funding authorized at up to $10,000,000 to the Fund.


On May 15, the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators will host a webinar on working with LGBTQI youths in youth justice settings and closing the gap between recommended practice and reality including a discussion of and development of LGBTQI specific policy to improve safety and foster positive youth development. Register here.

The Center for Justice and Peacebuilding is offering summer restorative justice training courses at Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

The Coalition for Juvenile Justice is looking for young people who are interested in applying to participate in an institute that will focus on police and youth engagement in Scottsdale, Az., on July 24-26, 2018. Applications will be accepted through May 18. Youth apply by completing an online survey (available here). A Word version is available here. For additional details click here.

Registration is now open for the Brookings Institution event and webcast on May 9, “Helping children of incarcerated parents and children in foster care.”

On October 22-25, 2018, the National Partnership for Juvenile Services will host its 24th National Symposium on Juvenile Services in Greensboro, NC. This event will bring together juvenile and human services leadership and professionals for training and the opportunity to share program approaches being implemented within the juvenile justice system nationwide.


NJJN recently released an analysis of New Zealand's youth justice transformation and its lessons for the United States.

A new report by NJJN member Juvenile Justice Initiative (IL) called "Detention of Juveniles in Illinois" highlights the need for local communities to be given financial incentives to keep young people from being locked up.

NJJN member Youth Justice Project released a report on the disproportionate use of school suspensions in North Carolina elementary schools.

NPR reports on disparities persisting in school discipline. Too frequently, school disciplinary policies end up disproportionately pushing out children of color from our education system. Loss of time in the classroom contributes to lower educational attainment and increased potential for court involvement, driving ongoing disparities. We must do better to ensure our classrooms are equipped to support every student.

A new animated video, produced by RogueMark Studios of Berkeley and the Alameda County Public Defender’s Office, features a narrator discussing the role of prosecutors in the criminal legal system.

A new Atlantic documentary that explores Virginia’s reform challenges through the life of a youth inside Bon Air youth prison, features one of our amazing Youth Justice Leadership Institute Fellows, Valerie Slater.

USC Doctor of Social Work writes article on engaging social workers in activism.

In a new report to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Racism, the Sentencing Project explains how the United States essentially operates two distinct criminal justice systems: one for wealthy people and another for poor people and people of color.

A consortium of twelve organizations have released a report about why leaders of color and/or those who are formerly incarcerated are central to helping justice-involved youth become successful in community settings.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation has published Transforming Juvenile Probation: A Vision for Getting it Right, a new report that lays out sweeping changes and new and expanded priorities for juvenile probation.


NJJN member New Jersey Institute for Social Justice is looking for a law and policy director and a development associate. More here.

Children’s Defense Fund is taking applications for their Child Defender Fellowship.

The Council of State Governments is seeking a Policy Analyst to provide technical assistance to states and counties seeks to improve outcomes for youth in the juvenile justice system in either our NYC or Bethesda, MD office. Interested candidates with juvenile justice/education/youth development and/or technical assistance experience should send their resume to Josh Weber at jweber@csg.org.

The Southern Poverty Law Center-AL seeks a Senior Supervising Attorney, Children’s Rights and a Senior Supervising Attorney, Criminal Justice Reform.

The Center for Juvenile Justice Reform recently released a Request for Applications for the 2018 School-Justice Partnerships and Diversion Pathways Certificate Program. The training will be held September 24-28, 2018 at the Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center.

The National Center for Youth Law has a variety of job openings.

Youth Radio has development openings.

Justice Policy Institute is looking for a director of research and policy and a communications associate. Learn more.

The California Alliance for Youth and Community Justice seeks a Director of the Alliance.

National Council on Crime and Delinquency Prevention has openings in Oakland, California. Apply here.

The Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project is hiring a supervising attorney.

MomsRising is putting together a book of stories from parents, caregivers, teachers and other school staff about the school to prison pipeline. Share your story.


ICYMI, check out NJJN’s latest newsletter here.

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