On June 25, 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that states may not impose mandatory life sentences without parole on juveniles, even if they have been convicted of taking part in a murder.
The justices ruled in a 5-to-4 decision that such sentencing for those under 18 violated the Eighth Amendment?s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The ruling left open the possibility of judges? sentencing juveniles to life imprisonment without parole in individual circumstances but said state laws could not automatically impose such sentences.
CCWP recognizes this ruling as a small but significant step forward in the fight to eliminate Life Without Parole (LWOP) sentences. We will continue to work with women and trans prisoners with life sentences, and their allies, to stop all LWOP and life-term sentencing and to change the ways that youth are criminalized by the criminal legal system. For more, read the statement by the Campaign for Fair Sentencing of Youth.
Right now, juveniles in California can be sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole. It is a sentence to die in prison. The US is the only country in the world that applies this punishment to youth under the age of 18.
Several hundred teens have been sentenced to life without parole in California. Under the current law, not one of them will ever have the opportunity to demonstrate that they have turned their lives around and can safely re-enter society.
If Senate Bill 9 is enacted, California will set up a strict process for a judge to examine these individuals? lives when they are older and determine if they are rehabilitated and remorseful. If so, they will then have a chance to earn parole after serving a minimum of 25 years.
We ask our legislators to pass this important bill during the upcoming vote.
Please sign this petition. Click here: http://signon.org/sign/youth-deserve-a-second?source=s.em.cp&r_by=2442712
Governor?s juvenile justice realignment proposal echoes CJCJ?s 2012 recommendations! New report provides five policy recommendations to ensure successful juvenile justice realignment in California
CJCJ?s January 2012 report entitled Juvenile Justice Realignment in 2012 provides support for Governor Brown?s realignment proposal and offers five policy recommendations that include a three-year process that allows counties time to design new services and infrastructure. At the end of three years, the state will no longer manage youth correctional institutions and the resources that used to sustain these facilities will be transferred to the counties. Shifting full responsibilities for juvenile justice services to the counties will spur innovation and produce substantial cost savings. Similar recommendations by the Legislative Analyst?s Office, Little Hoover Commission, and the Governor?s Office date back to 2008. CJCJ?s Executive Director Daniel Macallair states
?Governor Brown is correct when he asserts that the best correctional interventions are those delivered at the point where the offender is most likely to return.? Sign our advocacy letter to tell the governor that you support juvenile justice realignment.
Remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get our publications on this issue as they are released! One to be released tomorrow? make sure you find out first.
Does your California County support realignment?
Students at City Arts and Tech High School in the Excelsior District of SF, invited activists and former prisoners to present to their class. CCWP was represented by members Samantha Rogers, Alba Guerrero and Deirdre Wilson. All three women are mothers who have been locked up behind addiction/co-dependence who are using all the wisdom, resilience and skills they have gained on their paths before, during and after incarceration, to build a better community and reach their full potential as human beings.
January 25, 2012
Lino Silva has been an inmate at the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility in California for the past seven years. He says the conditions there are inhumane and unacceptable, even for a prison. The kids at Ventura say they endure the following:
Water fountains that do not drain and hold stagnant pools of dirty water.
Toilets that are broken, leaking, or frequently overflowing.
Filthy showers and bathrooms in living units.
Lack of clean clothing and clothing that fits.
Air vents that smell of sewage.
Lino has used his time at Ventura to learn to read and to serve as a mentor to other kids in prison. He?s due to be released next year, but before he leaves, he wants to do everything he can to improve conditions at Ventura.
So Lino started a petition on Change.org asking the Ventura Youth Prison Superintendent Victor Almager to improve conditions at Ventura Youth Correctional Facility. Click here to sign Lino?s petition.
The conditions at Ventura are so deplorable that the kids there say they would rather be in adult prison. ?We feel desperate,? Lino says. ?Some youth here are so desperate they are trying to get transferred to adult prison. The only way to do this is to commit new crimes and try to get charged as an adult.?
The guards at Ventura are no help, either — Lino says he was put in solitary confinement just because he covered a light to try to get some sleep. When Lino and other kids have complained to the guards, Lino says they get responses like, “I don’t have to live here, why do I care?”
Lino knows it?s dangerous for him to start a petition about Ventura — he believes he?ll face retaliation for going public with this information. But Lino also believes that, with public pressure, the powers that be will take steps to make life better for him and all the other kids imprisoned at Ventura. Click here to sign Lino?s petition asking Ventura Youth Prison Superintendent Victor Almager to improve conditions at Vetura Youth Correctional Facility.
Thanks for being a change-maker,
– Michael and the Change.org team
January 13, 2012
Help us change California?s law: young people should never be sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole. Please watch this quick YouTube video featuring murder victim family members saying why they support SB 9, a bill that would give second chances to youth.
By viewing it, you?ll be letting legislators who look at it next week know that many people think this issue is important. Pass it on!
If you like it, click ?like.? Put it up on your Facebook page, and send it to friends and family.
Just in — Governor Jerry Brown called for the closure of California’s youth prisons! As part of Brown’s 2012-2013 budget, the Division of Juvenile Justice would stop taking youth beginning in 2013. He proposed this last year as well, but then caved to pressure and backed down. We simply can no longer waste money on an expensive, failed youth prison system at the expense of schools, hospitals, and libraries. This year we need to make sure it closes. Join me in sending a message to the Governor and other leaders urging them to finally shut it down. To take action on this issue, click on the link below: Help close California’s youth prisons!
by Leslie Neale
“When I started volunteer teaching at Juvenile Hall in Los Angeles, I was naïve to juvenile justice, thinking children were handled fairly and with care, not only for their safety, but also for the safety of the public at large. What I found is that scores of children are getting thrown away in adult prisons instead of staying in the rehabilitative environment of the juvenile system, a structure originally designed to protect them from ending up in the adult system. The making of ?Juvies? has made my life make an irrevocable turn towards correcting the juvenile justice system, making it one that is run with intelligence, responsibility and mercy.”
To learn more about the documentary, see video clips and order a copy, please click here.