NJPC NJ Youth Justice Initiative

Youth Leadership Program Application
Do you know someone who has been arrested or locked up? Do you want to speak out to change the youth justice system? Then this program may be for you! The Youth Leadership Program is for young people ages 14 to 25 who have been affected by the youth justice system or who are interested in changing the system. This program will help train young people to become leaders in their communities and to get involved in our statewide campaign to close youth prisons and invest in alternatives to incarceration for New Jersey's young people. The Youth Leadership Program will meet weekly from April 5 to May 31. All participants will receive a stipend of $50 for their participation each session. Participants will also receive stipends to attend state and national meetings and conferences focused on stopping kids from getting arrested or pushed out of school and changing policies to keep young people out of youth prisons.

WNYC News - Kids in Prison: Getting Tried as An Adult Depends on Skin Color
Listen HERE

Since 2009, in collaboration with organizations throughout the state and political leaders, our NJ Youth Justice Initiative has sought to end the:
•process of waiving young people in New Jersey to the adult prison system
•use of solitary confinement
•practice of transferring those in the juvenile system to the adult system at the age of 18 without due process
•underlying factors related to racial and ethnic disparities in New Jersey's juvenile system
Download the brochure below:
Brochure - English     Brochure - Spanish

Youth Tried,Sentenced and Incarcerated as Adults in New Jersey

National Data

• Are 36 times more likely to commit suicide in an adult jail than in a juvenile detention facility
• Face the same penalties as adults – including life without parole
• Will receive little or no education, mental health treatment, or rehabilitative programming
• Are at greater risk of sexual assault or death – according to a study, youth made up 21% and 13% of all victims of inmate-on-inmate sexualized violence, in 2005 and 2006, respectively, even though youths make up only 1% of the prison population
• Are 34% more likely to commit another crime when released than are youth who are retained in juvenile facilities
• Up to one half of all youth transferred to adult court who are held in jail are eventually sent back to the juvenile justice system or not convicted at all.

New Jersey Data

NJPC Youth Justice Initiative Data Collection Published 2010 (1/2007-8/2010 Sentencing Data); NJ Department of Corrections - Offender Statistics)

• Over 60 juveniles serving time in adult prisons – 93% are minorities (73% African American, 20% Hispanic/Latino)
• A majority of the children (57%) are from Hudson, Camden, and Atlantic Counties; these counties are some of the poorest in NJ, all having a median family income of less than $50,000.
• 46% of these children were had prior DYFS involvement
• 58% had been involved in Special Education
• 46% had prior involvement with the law as juveniles
• A startling 68% of these children had been diagnosed with a mental health disorder prior to their incarceration.
* “Key Facts about Latino Youth in the US Justice System,” by the Campaign for Youth Justice, and the National Council of La Raza, “Jailing Juveniles,” by the Campaign for Youth Justice
** (Sources - NJ Department of Corrections – Offender Statistics, NJ Youth Justice Initiative Data Collection)


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