District of Columbia
DC JOY Campaign: www.dcly.org/judge_our_youth
Comprehensive Youth Justice Amendment Act of 2016
Type of Reform
This legislation substantially limits the use of solitary confinement of youth; removes children from DC's adult jail by transferring the custody of kids charged as adults to the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services; prohibits the secure detention of status offenders; enacts common-sense reforms to record sealing; enables the increased use of diversion and restorative justices practices; allows for youth who have already been sentenced to extremely long sentences as adults to have their sentences reviewed by a judge after 20 years of being in jail; strengthens the presumption agains the pre-trial detention of youth; prohibits the shackling of any youth known to be pregnant; requires the District to study the root causes of delinquency; and enables the District to better evaluate the efficacy of the services it provides to youth in the delinquency system.
Judge Our Youth Campaign
Type of Reform
In partnership with Campaign for Youth Justice, DCLY launched the Judge Our Youth Campaign in 2014 to reduce the prosecution of DC youth in the adult criminal justice system.
TransformationThrough Accommodation: Reforming Juvenile Justice by Recognizing and Responding to Trauma
Over the last ten years, the United States Supreme Court has affirmed two key principles relating to the intersection of youth and the law. First, the Court has recognized that kids are physiologically, psychologically, and neurologically different from adults. Second, the Court has held that the law must take these material differences into account. In doing so, the Supreme Court has confirmed what many psychologists, neuroscientists, parents, and youth defenders have argued for years – the law must make accommodations for the normative differences between adolescence and adulthood.
D.C. Prisoners: Conditions of Confinement in the District of Columbia
This report (2015)discusses the dreadful conditions faced by those housed in D.C. jail facilities, including vermin and pest infestations, heightened suicide rates, a crumbling physical infrastructure replete with leakages and mold, and an understaffed and undertrained correctional staff. In a specific paragraph, it highlights in particular the specific issues youth encounter because of these horrible conditions, and because of the inadequacy of the facilities for such young people.
Capital City Correction: Reforming DC's Youth Incarceration System
Reforming DC's Youth Incarceration System (2014) provided by the CFYJ and DCLY, interviews the general public in order to determine their opinions on the treatment of youth in the adult criminal system. The study determined that the public now believes that youth who are awaiting trial should be held in youth facilities rather than in adult jail. They also believe that youth should be rehabilitated rather than simply incarcerated. Rehabilitation should provide the youth with skills to help them be productive members of society when they are released. The public also rejects placing youth in adult facilities as a means of rehabilitation.