Home News Center NJJN's COVID-19 Youth Justice Response Fund Grantee Spotlight: Association for the Public Defender of Maryland (APDM)

NJJN's COVID-19 Youth Justice Response Fund Grantee Spotlight: Association for the Public Defender of Maryland (APDM)

May 26, 2021
NJJN

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In May 2020, NJJN announced a new COVID-19 Youth Justice Response Fund to support advocacy toward the decarceration of youth correctional facilities in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic. Out of 40 applications, five organizations received 1-year grants to bolster their efforts to advocate for alternatives to institutional care and detention. We are pleased to report on the work of our grantees, this month highlighting the work of the Association for the Public Defender of Maryland (APDM) and its campaign, 24 and None, formerly called Maryland Youth Rising. 

In response to the crisis of COVID-19 and the need for a rapid response to advocating for decarceration efforts, the Association for the Public Defender of Maryland (APDM) created 24 and None - a campaign which organizes system-impacted youth to challenge existing policies and practice that feed youth incarceration and exacerbate the racial disparities rampant throughout the juvenile justice system. 24 and None's advocacy currently focuses on four priorities:   

  1. Raise the Age – raise the ceiling and the floor of Maryland’s juvenile justice system to ensure all children are treated in a developmentally appropriate manner;  

  2. Shrink the System – bar out of home placement for children who commit low level offenses;

  3. Positive Youth Development – replace the current corrections model of supervision with developmentally appropriate positive youth development; and  

  4. Close to Home – close Maryland’s aging and ineffective youth prisons and treat the highest needs children close to their homes, communities, and support systems. 

Emphasizing these priorities has been vital to demonstrating the health and public safety efficacy of bringing youth home not just during the pandemic, but as a permanent shift in youth justice policy moving forward. 24 and None participants receive training and skills building in public speaking, social media marketing, campaign strategy, transformative justice, political education, advocacy and community building.  

Grant funds from NJJN's COVID-19 Youth Justice Response Fund supported 24 and None’s new Project Coordinator, MarTaze Gaines, who has galvanized system-involved youth to form the initial 24 and None Advisory Group. This advisory group has been developing strategies and structure for incoming participants. This summer, 24 and None plans to unveil social media accounts, new community engagement efforts, and its upcoming advocacy agenda. 

Visit 24 and None online to learn more about the initiative. 

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