W. Haywood Burns Institute

W. Haywood Burns Institute The Burns Institute is a leading organization in the field of juvenile justice and ethnic and racial disparities reduction, with a focus on advancing the well-being of all children and their communities.
We are a national organization that provides technical assistance to stakeholders, both in the justice system and beyond, in order to promote fair and equitable treatment for youth of color and poor youth. Using a data-driven process, we facilitate collaborative environments where community and system stakeholders can identify and address disparities, redirect resources to community-based alternatives, and reduce system involvement for youth. Our national network, the Community Justice Network for Youth (CJNY), provides support to community groups and arms them with the tools and staff to strengthen their programs and engage in policy work.

10/16/2019
UC Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy

Goldman School of Public Policy produced a wonderful piece featuring of our very own Clarence Ford, Policy Associate of the W. Haywood Burns Institute #forjusticefairness&equity

Learn about what brought Clarence Ford (MPP '18) to the Goldman School and his current policy work at the W. Haywood Burns Institute in Oakland, Ca.

05/13/2019
MacArthur Foundation

Chris James discusses the importance of community engagement, sharing power and decision making, and the need for system stakeholders to set aside their personal discomfort with talking about race/ethnicity in the pursuit of #justice

You simply cannot reduce the jail population without intentionally and explicitly focusing on eliminating racial and ethnic disparities.

https://www.facebook.com/516050077/posts/10161900440270078?s=672365223&v=i&sfns=mo

Right now on MacArthur’s page, Christopher James of the W. Haywood Burns Institute and Kristina Henson of Palm Beach County are live to talk about the importance of engaging the community in local justice reform. #RethinkJails

What questions do you have for them?

01/02/2019
www.burnsinstitute.org

Happy New Year!

As we step into 2019, we want to take a moment to say thanks!

In 2018 we were able to collaborate with and train over 1,700 young people, organizations, tribal communities and other community partners in advocating for a fair and equitable administration of justice free of racial and ethnic disparities.

Learn more about all our 2018 accomplishments in our annual report: https://bit.ly/2QjdZiw

Live from Baltimore City at the 2018 CJJ DMC Conference Nallely Gopar and Miracle Te’o discuss the importance and impact...
11/28/2018

Live from Baltimore City at the 2018 CJJ DMC Conference
Nallely Gopar and Miracle Te’o discuss the importance and impact of Youth Advisory Boards and the value that young people feel when the power of their voice and experience is appreciated.

Live from Baltimore City at the 2018 CJJ DMC Conference!BI’s Laura Ridolfi talking about the importance of, and how to t...
11/28/2018

Live from Baltimore City at the 2018 CJJ DMC Conference!

BI’s Laura Ridolfi talking about the importance of, and how to to promote equity and youth voice in probation.
Laura is joined by her powerful Santa Clara delegation Nallely Gopar, Miracle Te’o and Alex Villa.

10/03/2018

California Governor Signs Youth Justice Bills That Promote Equity

Earlier this week, Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills that represent a major step forward for equity, justice reform, and smart public policy in California. The W. Haywood Burns Institute (BI), a co-sponsor of the bills, commends the Governor for his leadership in considering the data, research, and racial/ethnic and geographic disparities that were perpetuated by the status quo.

The first bill, SB 1391, ends adult court prosecution of 14- and 15-year-olds. The second, SB 439, keeps children under 12 out of the justice system entirely, instead instructing counties to refer the children to the least restrictive services. The two pieces of legislation, according to Laura Ridolfi, Director of Policy at the Burns Institute, “will go a long way to reduce recidivism and avoid harmful and lifelong trauma, particularly to youth of color, who are disproportionately subjected to the courts.”

Black teens are 11 times more likely, and Latino teens five times more likely, to be prosecuted in adult court for similar crimes as white children. Since 2003 (when California started collecting data on this practice) more than 1,500 14- and 15-year-olds faced adult court prosecution and sentences, including life in prison.

Ample research today confirms that children should be treated like children, Ridolfi says, citing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Department of Justice studies found that youth treated in the juvenile system are less likely to commit new crimes than those tried as adults. “Fourteen and 15 year-olds can’t drive, vote, buy alcohol or cigarettes, or join the military. Our other laws recognize the immaturity and vulnerability of young teenagers -- SB 1391 allows our justice system to be more age appropriate and in line with current developmental science,” Ridolfi explained. The Burns Institute, along with coalition partners, had been advocating for the end of adult court prosecution of youth for years, including publishing a recent issues brief with Human Rights Watch entitled, “Futures Denied: Why California Should Not Prosecute 14- and 15-year-olds as Adults.”

SB 439 ends the juvenile court prosecution of children under age 12, unless a child has been accused of committing murder or rape. This bill will help mitigate the existing racial and ethnic disparities for young children. Currently, Black children under age 12 are almost four times as likely to be referred to probation as white youth; five times as likely to have a case petitioned in court; and more than six times as likely as white youth to be incarcerated in juvenile hall pending their adjudication. These racial/ethnic disparities may partially be the consequence of seeing childhood differently for children of color, Ridolfi points out. In a recent study, law enforcement officers who were shown photos of white, black and Latino youth accused of felony offenses overestimated the age of black youth by 4.5 years and Latino youth by 2.3 years while underestimating the age of white youth.

Regardless of race or ethnicity, most young children arrive at the justice system because of age-appropriate behavior like truancy, drawing on school property, and school fights. Over half of cases are closed at intake. Yet, even these short interactions are harmful, Ridolfi said. “Research shows that even brief contact with the justice system can have lasting and negative psychological and health impacts for young children,” Ridolfi explained. “SB 439 will help protect the mental health of California’s children and encourage child serving agencies and the law enforcement community to utilize appropriate services in response to youthful misbehavior, while also keeping children safe from further trauma.”

“These are both groundbreaking pieces of legislation, that other states should consider in order to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in youth justice, better protect their children’s mental health, reduce recidivism, and keep our communities safe,” Ridolfi affirmed. “The laws are in line with contemporary developmental research and data on youth in our legal systems. These changes are both overdue and welcomed.”

Founder and President James Bell at the Annie E Casey Foundation’s 2018 JDAI DEEP END INTER-SITE CONFERENCE Plenary disc...
09/06/2018

Founder and President James Bell at the Annie E Casey Foundation’s 2018 JDAI DEEP END INTER-SITE CONFERENCE
Plenary discussion:
Reflections on History, Truth, Reconciliation and Leadership

For every 1 white youth facing adult prosecution nearly 12 Black & 5 Latino youth face adult court and long prison sente...
08/25/2018
ACT! | Fair Sentencing for Youth

For every 1 white youth facing adult prosecution nearly 12 Black & 5 Latino youth face adult court and long prison sentences.

Let’s stop criminalizing kids under 16. #carenotcages. #PassSB1391

Take 2 minutes to make a call (soon!)
http://fairsentencingforyouth.org/take-action/

Let’s stop trying youth under 16 as adults in California. Pass SB 1391. Pick up your phone and call your Assembly Member. Find your Assembly Member HERE. Call their capitol office in Sacramento. Something like this is all you’ll have to say: “Hello, my name is __________. I am a constituent. I...

“...The law predominantly affects youth of color, with Black youth more than 11 times more likely, and Latino youth near...
08/25/2018
Futures Denied: Why California Should Not Prosecute 14- and 15-year-olds as Adults | Burns Institute

“...The law predominantly affects youth of color, with Black youth more than 11 times more likely, and Latino youth nearly five times as likely as white youth to face prosecution in adult court. In addition to the radical difference in how individual young people are treated, prosecuting 14 and 15 year-olds in adult court has weakened, not enhanced, public safety.”

Justice Denied: Why California Should Not Prosecute 14 and 15 year-olds as Adults

Visit our website [https://www.burnsinstitute.org/publications/futures-denied-why-california-should-not-prosecute-14-and-15-year-olds-as-adults/]

Futures Denied: Why California Should Not Prosecute 14- and 15-year-olds as Adults Posted on August 23, 2018August 23, 2018 by Julia Roma After decades of handling youth 15 and younger in its rehabilitation-focused juvenile justice system, in 1995 California discarded its longstanding approach and a...

02/22/2018
Berkeley Law Hosts National Convening to Confront Juvenile System Fines, Fees | Berkeley Law

“We’re seeing great progress when it comes to shutting down youth prisons and lowering incarceration rates in some areas, and major reforms that were previously thought unthinkable, but we still have real work to do when it comes to racial disparities.”

- Laura John Ridolfi, Policy Director, W. Haywood Burns Institute

https://www.law.berkeley.edu/article/berkeley-law-hosts-national-convening-confront-juvenile-system-fines-fees/

By Andrew Cohen Public interest lawyers and social justice advocates are often urged to be pragmatic—to accept certain compromises in order to achieve small victories. Berkeley Law’s national convening on the devastating impact of juvenile fines and fees, however, sounded a different refrain. .....

Needs Immediate Attention Today:Please see the attached link below to sign a petition to release a 16 year old girl who ...
02/12/2018
Sign the Petition

Needs Immediate Attention Today:

Please see the attached link below to sign a petition to release a 16 year old girl who has been held in solitary confinement in a prison for women in Tennessee.

Solitary confinement is dangerous and has devastating effects on young people. In this particular jurisdiction, female youth are repeatedly transferred to adult prison facilities and held in solitary confinement.

#StopSolitaryforKids

https://www.change.org/p/tell-shelby-county-sheriff-free-16-year-old-girl-from-inhumane-solitary-confinement-now?recruiter=4966802&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=autopublish&utm_term=share_petition&utm_content=ex56%3Av1

Tell Shelby County Sheriff: Free 16-Year-Old Girl from Inhumane Solitary Confinement Now

With budgetary decisions being made in Washington, it's necessary to remind them of how juvenile justice reform needs to...
02/01/2018
FY 2019 Appropriations Sign-on Letter

With budgetary decisions being made in Washington, it's necessary to remind them of how juvenile justice reform needs to be an investment. Sign the petition letter written by our partners as part of the Act4JJ campaign to show your representatives you support funding #juvenilejusticereform!

Every night in California, nearly 4,000 youth lay their heads to sleep out of their homes and away from their families a...
01/24/2018

Every night in California, nearly 4,000 youth lay their heads to sleep out of their homes and away from their families as a result of a court ordered placement. A new report from the W. Haywood Burns Institute, presents an analysis of available state and county level data about the use of out of home placement in California and the impact it has on youth of color in the state.

Check out the BI Blog to find out more and access the full report:
http://bit.ly/2n9VQat

In case you missed it, California has officially ended administrative fees for youth in detention. Will other states fol...
01/04/2018
Stop jailing poor kids who can't afford to pay court fines. | Opinion

In case you missed it, California has officially ended administrative fees for youth in detention. Will other states follow in eliminating a practice which hurts our most vulnerable communities?

States should defy Attorney General Jeff Sessions and end juvenile administrative fees.

As the year comes to a close, it is a time for reflection for all of us here at the Burns Institute. Mike Finley looks b...
12/12/2017
Looking Back, Moving Forward: Reflections from the Field | Burns Institute

As the year comes to a close, it is a time for reflection for all of us here at the Burns Institute. Mike Finley looks back on the work we have done and the challenges that lie ahead.

Looking Back, Moving Forward: Reflections from the Field Posted on November 28, 2017December 11, 2017 by Michael Finley 2017 has been a year of significant change for both the nation and the Burns Institute. For us here at the BI, the looming year’s end signals a time for deep reflection on where ...

The passage of #prop57 was just the beginning. A new report put together by us in partnership with the Center on Juvenil...
11/29/2017

The passage of #prop57 was just the beginning. A new report put together by us in partnership with the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ) and the National Center for Youth Law highlights the need to keep watch in order to prevent disparities from showing up under the state's new process for transferring youth to adult court.

NEW REPORT: ADDRESSING RACIAL, ETHNIC, & GEOGRAPHIC DISPARITIES AFTER THE REPEAL OF DIRECT FILE - "...the data are a reminder of the need to remain vigilant to prevent these disparities from being reproduced..." Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ) W. Haywood Burns Institute National Center for Youth Law National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) http://bit.ly/2ByHV4i

Challenging the justice system to think beyond incarceration is more necessary now than ever. This #givingtuesday, suppo...
11/28/2017
Burns Institute Supporters

Challenging the justice system to think beyond incarceration is more necessary now than ever. This #givingtuesday, support us in our fight to end racial and ethnic disparities and create a justice system that is equitable for all.

We at the W. Haywood Burns Institute (BI) and the Community Justice Network for Youth (CJNY) are able to continue our work through the generous support of foundations, agencies and individuals like you. We welcome all donations to further our work to reduce the overrepresentation of youth of color i...

"What we now know after 10 years of informed analysis is that all of those things have benefited white kids and the raci...
11/14/2017
Racial Disparities Persist After Years of Juvenile Justice Reform, Models for Change Leaders Say

"What we now know after 10 years of informed analysis is that all of those things have benefited white kids and the racial disparities persist.”

When reform efforts don't closely examine race and ethnicity, little progress is made for youth of color.

James Bell, founder and president of the W. Haywood Burns Institute, told a gathering of juvenile justice reformers that it was time to begin “an uncomfortable” conversation about racial disparities in the youth justice system.

11/09/2017
For Harriet

Roots of Prison Abolitionists

Ruth Wilson Gilmore explains the importance of daring to imagine a world without prisons.

Read her book: https://goo.gl/wAAnuu

November is Native American Heritage Month: did you know that Native American youth are consistently more likely than Wh...
11/07/2017
Unbalanced Youth Justice

November is Native American Heritage Month: did you know that Native American youth are consistently more likely than White youth to be incarcerated, and the disparities are only increasing? Take some time to find out how the youth justice system impacts native youth by looking at our national data map.

The Burns Institute is in pursuit of an equitable and excellent youth justice system. A system used sparingly and appropriately. We know that our current youth justice system is not equitable, excellent, or used sparingly and appropriately. More than 47,000 youth were incarcerated on any given night...

A collegue, ally, and fellow warrior -- Tarsha Jackson of the Texas Organizing Project is an inspiration and her story i...
11/06/2017
Tarsha Jackson uses son's struggles as her catalyst for criminal justice reform

A collegue, ally, and fellow warrior -- Tarsha Jackson of the Texas Organizing Project is an inspiration and her story is a reminder of the real cost of incarceration.

On a blistering hot late summer day at a state prison in rural Rosharon, Marquieth Jackson sits behind security glass. His muscular arms poke out from a white jumpsuit and his hazel eyes peer into the visitor's room. More than 30 miles to the north, his mother's brown eyes stare out at criminal just...

11/01/2017
Pretrial Justice Institute

The Pretrial Justice Institute has developed a report card to highlight the state of the pretrial justice system in the United States. Check out the video and report below to find out more and find out your state's grade.

PJI CEO Cherise Fanno Burdeen introduces The State of Pretrial Justice in America, PJI's first-ever effort to gauge the quality of pretrial practice and outcomes across the United States. View the report here, http://ow.ly/O4ME30gh0Y4.

“I don’t think you’re going to see a lot of concessions by our jail, because I think our jail does what it’s supposed to...
10/26/2017
Hunger strikers, jailers reach truce over solitary lockup

“I don’t think you’re going to see a lot of concessions by our jail, because I think our jail does what it’s supposed to do, and it does it right"

Despite the overwhelming evidence that solitary confinement does significant damage to those subjected to it, officials continue to stand by their tactics. How do we fix a justice system that doesn't see itself as flawed?

Seventy inmates at the county jail in Oakland refused to eat last week. They went on a hunger strike to demand improvements to their living conditions. Their top demand: Ending 23-hour solitary confinement at the Glenn Dyer Detention Facility. Inmates in Alameda County get isolated for violating jai...

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California Governor Signs Youth Justice Bills That Promote Equity Earlier this week, Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills that represent a major step forward for equity, justice reform, and smart public policy in California. The W. Haywood Burns Institute (BI), a co-sponsor of the bills, commends the Governor for his leadership in considering the data, research, and racial/ethnic and geographic disparities that were perpetuated by the status quo. The first bill, SB 1391, ends adult court prosecution of 14- and 15-year-olds. The second, SB 439, keeps children under 12 out of the justice system entirely, instead instructing counties to refer the children to the least restrictive services. The two pieces of legislation, according to Laura Ridolfi, Director of Policy at the Burns Institute, “will go a long way to reduce recidivism and avoid harmful and lifelong trauma, particularly to youth of color, who are disproportionately subjected to the courts.” Black teens are 11 times more likely, and Latino teens five times more likely, to be prosecuted in adult court for similar crimes as white children. Since 2003 (when California started collecting data on this practice) more than 1,500 14- and 15-year-olds faced adult court prosecution and sentences, including life in prison. Ample research today confirms that children should be treated like children, Ridolfi says, citing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Department of Justice studies found that youth treated in the juvenile system are less likely to commit new crimes than those tried as adults. “Fourteen and 15 year-olds can’t drive, vote, buy alcohol or cigarettes, or join the military. Our other laws recognize the immaturity and vulnerability of young teenagers -- SB 1391 allows our justice system to be more age appropriate and in line with current developmental science,” Ridolfi explained. The Burns Institute, along with coalition partners, had been advocating for the end of adult court prosecution of youth for years, including publishing a recent issues brief with Human Rights Watch entitled, “Futures Denied: Why California Should Not Prosecute 14- and 15-year-olds as Adults.” SB 439 ends the juvenile court prosecution of children under age 12, unless a child has been accused of committing murder or rape. This bill will help mitigate the existing racial and ethnic disparities for young children. Currently, Black children under age 12 are almost four times as likely to be referred to probation as white youth; five times as likely to have a case petitioned in court; and more than six times as likely as white youth to be incarcerated in juvenile hall pending their adjudication. These racial/ethnic disparities may partially be the consequence of seeing childhood differently for children of color, Ridolfi points out. In a recent study, law enforcement officers who were shown photos of white, black and Latino youth accused of felony offenses overestimated the age of black youth by 4.5 years and Latino youth by 2.3 years while underestimating the age of white youth. Regardless of race or ethnicity, most young children arrive at the justice system because of age-appropriate behavior like truancy, drawing on school property, and school fights. Over half of cases are closed at intake. Yet, even these short interactions are harmful, Ridolfi said. “Research shows that even brief contact with the justice system can have lasting and negative psychological and health impacts for young children,” Ridolfi explained. “SB 439 will help protect the mental health of California’s children and encourage child serving agencies and the law enforcement community to utilize appropriate services in response to youthful misbehavior, while also keeping children safe from further trauma.” “These are both groundbreaking pieces of legislation, that other states should consider in order to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in youth justice, better protect their children’s mental health, reduce recidivism, and keep our communities safe,” Ridolfi affirmed. “The laws are in line with contemporary developmental research and data on youth in our legal systems. These changes are both overdue and welcomed.”
JOB OPENING AT A GREAT ORG!
Arrest Diversion Grants! Deadline Oct 27th! The Burns Institute has been working with the Open Society Foundation and others to generate support for viable alternatives to mass criminalization. They are small (up to $25,000) but can be used for innovate work that's hard to fund. This funding is intended to strengthen community-driven health services and resource interventions made prior to or instead of arrest. The goal is to improve the capacity of community-based organizations to deliver resources and harm-reduction services shown to improve health and well-being. Arrest diversion programs will include leaders who are directly impacted and equitably resourced. Communities will design health-centered interventions that empower participants and measurably reduce the harms of policing drug use, sex work and other subsistence-based trade. Organizations most responsive to the needs of over-policed communities will gain the tools and networks to systematically divert those facing the greatest risk of incarceration. Criminal Justice Initiative will manage the application process. Grant selection will be made through consensus by CJI’s circle of activists and survivors of the war on drugs. Full information and application https://criminaljusticeinitiative.submittable.com/submit/?mc_cid=cae2aa4651&mc_eid=f63607994b For further questions, please contact Bridgette Butler at 646-849-9174 or [email protected].