This is a trying time for our country. We unequivocally condemn the racist, bigoted, and terrorist acts taken in Charlottesville. We believe in speaking out and taking action to tear down legacies of hate, especially in our justice system. In our juvenile justice system, youth of color are disproportionally imprisoned. We remain committed to closing all youth prisons and dismantling these instruments of institutional racism.
Sign on to Show Your Support
Youth First is sending a letter to the Connecticut Bar Examining Committee on behalf of our colleague Dwayne Betts whose application to practice was not admitted despite ample qualifications, including a law degree from Yale Law. We are also calling on the Connecticut Bar to take on broader reforms so that aspiring lawyers with prior justice system involvement are given second chances and the ability to enter the legal profession if they have completed their legal education and demonstrated a strong character. This should not depend on having the national profile and support that Dwayne has. We are formally submitting this letter to urge the Bar Examining Committee to admit Dwayne immediately. Sign on here.
In Case You Missed It
Youth First held a Facebook Live event: Sea Change: How to turn growing support for closing youth prisoning into ACTION. Pollster Mike Bocian and progressive communications strategist Mike Webb gave tips on successful messaging and how to engage press in the movement to close youth prisons. You can watch the full discussion on the Youth First Facebook page here.
In Virginia, RISE for Youth made headlines for protesting at a Chesapeake City Council meeting, forcing the council to delay its decision on whether to build a new youth prison until November. RISE is keeping the pressure on the council to invest in community-based alternatives instead of old, obsolete, and outdated youth prisons. The successful action demonstrated the power of advocacy against youth prisons.
In Wisconsin, Youth Justice Milwaukee continues their efforts to close Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake once and for all. Recent lawsuits filed by the ACLU chronicle the abuse and terrifying conditions that our children are living in at these facilities and make it clear that the time for reform attempts is over. We need to close these youth prisons immediately. Support Youth Justice Milwaukee’s efforts by signing the petition to close Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake.
Coming Up for Youth First
Throughout August, we’ve been tweeting out definitions of the jargon we use to talk about youth justice as part of a campaign called #WordstoKnow. Now, we’re asking you to tell us how you #DefineYouthJustice. Is it community, education, rehabilitation, or all of the above? Use the hashtag on your social media accounts so we can share our vision for youth justice together. Join the conversation and get the latest youth justice news by following us on Facebook and Twitter.
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The Youth First Team