Policy Platform Voting on November 20th

Facebook Twitter More...

Author: Olivia Phillips is a CJJ Communications Intern for Fall 2020

CJJ’s Council of State Advisory Groups has approved four policy platforms that aim to address racism at the front end of the youth justice system, with plans to take a deeper look at recommendations related to School Resource Officers in the upcoming months. This work uses information from the Center for Children’s Law and Policy, Dr. Cherie Dawson-Edwards of the University of Louisville, young people, families, law enforcement, service providers, policy advocates, SAG Chairs, Racial and Ethnic Disparities Coordinators and Juvenile Justice Specialists from across the country. It was funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The platforms, which were voted on Friday, November 20th, seek to move from conversation about ending racial injustice to concrete policy actions to address the issue.

To shape these policy platforms five focus groups were brought together consisting of families, youth and young adults, law enforcement, youth policy advocates, and community-based diversion providers. Their conversations and recommendations focused on actionable steps to address racism at the front end of the youth justice system. The resulting policy platforms focus on ending the over policing of youth of color, schools, investing in communities of color, and training. 

Recommendations included more federal funding to implement a civics program for students to understand their rights. Recommendations also focus on diverse teachers to create a more diverse and inclusive learning environment for students of color. Monetary incentives were also proposed to divert more youth and limit the use of arrest.    

Community investment was another factor considered in this project. Recommendations included increasing investments in Title V of the JJDPA to make sure funding exists to provide resources in the necessary communities of color. Another recommendation was for federal funds to be able to be used for linguistic and culturally competent mental health services. Training recommendations include funding to ensure that teachers, doctors and others who work with youth responsive authorities have the necessary training and understanding of implicit bias and adolescent development to handle each situation the best way possible. 

The hope is that these policy platforms will create a tool to help establish solid actions that can be used by both federal, state, and local governments to work to end racial inequities of the front end of the youth justice system. 

Members of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice’s Council of State Advisory Groups voted Nov. 20 on the proposed policy platforms. They will serve as CJJ’s top policy priority for 2021.