Home News Center Thank You CFYJ for 15 Years of Service to the Youth Justice Movement!

Thank You CFYJ for 15 Years of Service to the Youth Justice Movement!

October 29, 2020
K. Ricky Watson, Jr.

This week, Youth Justice Action Month comes to a close and the National Juvenile Justice Network would like to take a moment to thank the Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ), which has been leading YJAM since 2008. We are indelibly grateful to CFYJ for its overall 15 years of leadership to keep justice-involved youth out of adult prisons, and we celebrate all that has been accomplished. 

When CFYJ was founded in 2005, 250,000 children were prosecuted as adults each year, with a staggering 3 out of 4 of those youth coming from communities of color. Working with state advocates across the country, including many of our NJJN members, CFYJ has helped usher in more than 100 laws that make it harder to prosecute, sentence and incarcerate children as adults. As a result, the number of young people in adult prisons has dropped 70 percent. 

Equally important, CFYJ has been an invaluable resource for advocates and parents working on the ground in states to shift the narrative of how we view justice-involved youth. CFYJ has confronted myths about young people of color by advancing the need to address racial disparities and we join CFYJ in understanding no true youth justice can ever be achieved without placing racial justice at the center of our advocacy. 

As CFYJ prepares to close its doors this December, it leaves behind a legacy that NJJN and other national partners in this movement will continue to build upon. We will continue to fight to keep youth out of adult prisons at all costs, push states to create healing and restorative justice alternatives to youth incarceration, and work with our members on state-wide campaigns that continue reducing youth presence in the adult prison system.

We are proud to have worked with CFYJ in this movement, and we send a heartfelt congratulations to Executive Director Marcy Mistrett and her team, as well as all of the previous staff who have been a part of the organization’s history - including our own Tracey Tucker, former CFYJ Raise the Age South Carolina Coordinator and NJJN YJLI Alums Jeree Thomas, former CFYJ Policy Director, and Marion Andrew Humphrey, Jr., former Research and Policy Legal Fellow.

As you take a bow, we know we’ll continue to see you in the trenches, and we look forward to furthering the work of achieving a true vision of justice for youth in this country.

Your partner in the movement,

K. Ricky Watson, Jr.

Executive Director, National Juvenile Justice Network

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