National Juvenile Defender Center

National Juvenile Defender Center Through community building, training, and policy reform, we provide leadership on youth defense issues with a focus on the deprivation of children's rights.

Operating as usual

“If you have the possibility of rehabilitation and giving these children hope, I think that’s good public policy.”
10/11/2021
Behind bars since age 16, juvenile lifer watches New Mexico struggle over sentencing reform - Youth Today

“If you have the possibility of rehabilitation and giving these children hope, I think that’s good public policy.”

Behind bars since age 16, juvenile lifer watches New Mexico struggle over sentencing reform - News - Youth Today adheres to high-quality journalistic standards, providing readers with professional news coverage dedicated to examining a wide spectrum of complex issues in the youth services industry f...

Our reaction to the ProPublica piece on Rutherford County, Tennessee:
10/10/2021
Nat'l Juvenile Defender Center on Twitter

Our reaction to the ProPublica piece on Rutherford County, Tennessee:

“Let’s talk about the inhumanity of the juvenile legal system, exposed in this outstanding piece of investigative journalism by @bykenarmstrong of @propublica and @meribah of @WPLN. A thread. 1/20 https://t.co/Q1Ph8mea9C”

"When E.J. was taken to the detention center, she was processed along with C.C., her best friend. Jail staff recorded E....
10/08/2021
Black Children Were Jailed for a Crime That Doesn’t Exist. Almost Nothing Happened to the Adults in Charge.

"When E.J. was taken to the detention center, she was processed along with C.C., her best friend. Jail staff recorded E.J.’s name and birthdate (she was 10 years old), conducted a 16-point search and confiscated her jewelry, all her small rings. Then they placed the two fourth graders in a holding area."

Judge Donna Scott Davenport oversees a juvenile justice system in Rutherford County, Tennessee, with a staggering history of jailing children. She said kids must face consequences, which rarely seem to apply to her or the other adults in charge.

"A brilliant analysis of the foundations of racist policing in America: the day-to-day brutalities, largely hidden from ...
10/01/2021

"A brilliant analysis of the foundations of racist policing in America: the day-to-day brutalities, largely hidden from public view, endured by Black youth growing up under constant police surveillance and the persistent threat of physical and psychological abuse."
https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/623467/the-rage-of-innocence-by-kristin-henning/

"A brilliant analysis of the foundations of racist policing in America: the day-to-day brutalities, largely hidden from public view, endured by Black youth growing up under constant police surveillance and the persistent threat of physical and psychological abuse."
https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/623467/the-rage-of-innocence-by-kristin-henning/

“They hurt young people. They hurt families. They make it harder for a young person to break the ties of the juvenile ju...
09/23/2021
Advocacy Groups Launch Nationwide Campaign to End Juvenile Court Fines and Fees - The Imprint

“They hurt young people. They hurt families. They make it harder for a young person to break the ties of the juvenile justice system and move on with their lives. And in the end, they're not even financially beneficial to the state.”

A coalition of youth advocacy groups launched Debt Free Justice, a new national campaign to abolishing such court-imposed fines and fees.

"The year The Loft opened, juvenile arrests in Apache County dropped by 55%. And the center operates at roughly a quarte...
09/23/2021
In Arizona, a radical change in juvenile detention

"The year The Loft opened, juvenile arrests in Apache County dropped by 55%. And the center operates at roughly a quarter of the amount it cost the county to run the juvenile facility."

How a rural town transformed a juvenile facility into a safe space for teens.

Are you a youth defender or advocate ready to disrupt racism in the juvenile legal system? Apply to join the 2022 class ...
09/16/2021

Are you a youth defender or advocate ready to disrupt racism in the juvenile legal system? Apply to join the 2022 class of Ambassadors for Racial Justice!
https://www.law.georgetown.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Ambassadors-for-Racial-Justice-Application-2022.pdf

Are you a youth defender or advocate ready to disrupt racism in the juvenile legal system? Apply to join the 2022 class of Ambassadors for Racial Justice!
https://www.law.georgetown.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Ambassadors-for-Racial-Justice-Application-2022.pdf

"We know children are much more likely to succeed with a strong family support system around them, and much less likely ...
09/16/2021
It's time for Alabama to fix its juvenile justice system

"We know children are much more likely to succeed with a strong family support system around them, and much less likely to succeed if they experience juvenile incarceration."

Not every instance of bad behavior should trigger removal of a child from his/her home.

"What feels the very best? Is when I can look and see how many thousands of youth we’ve been able to serve in their home...
09/15/2021
Lockup facility being torn down because of Utah justice system reforms

"What feels the very best? Is when I can look and see how many thousands of youth we’ve been able to serve in their homes, schools and communities, to help prevent them from entering into the system. The millions of dollars we’ve been able to save."

The Wasatch Youth Center is no more. Demolition crews on Monday began work in tearing down the former long-term, secure lockup for child offenders. Brick walls and a gymnasium were knocked down. A stray office chair was picked up with some debris and thrown into the back of a dump truck.

“They’re criminalizing some ordinary behavior of students, and they’re certainly disproportionately referring students o...
09/13/2021
School policing falls hardest on Black students and those with disabilities, study shows

“They’re criminalizing some ordinary behavior of students, and they’re certainly disproportionately referring students of color to the juvenile justice system rather than disciplining them at school."

School policing falls on students with disabilities and Black children at a rate 90% greater than their overall student population, an analysis shows.

“I think the courts should look at these kids, look at these cases and start asking if they’ve been punished enough for ...
09/13/2021
Louisiana public defenders don't know where youths evacuated from detention centers were taken - Louisiana Illuminator

“I think the courts should look at these kids, look at these cases and start asking if they’ve been punished enough for whatever they think they may have done. Maybe we should let these kids and their families get on with their lives.”

Public defenders are still scrambling to locate children who were being held at Louisiana detention centers when Hurricane Ida hit last month.

"We can and should end the process of automatically charging our youth as if they were adults."
09/09/2021
Sen. Smith: Maryland's Youth Are Ready for Reform – Maryland Matters

"We can and should end the process of automatically charging our youth as if they were adults."

By Sen. William C. Smith Jr. The writer, a Democrat, represents Montgomery County District 20 in the Maryland Senate. He is chair of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee and a member of the Juvenile Justice Reform Council. My colleagues and I sat captivated as Dwayne Betts, published poet and Y...

“We’re not setting families up to successfully help the justice system with the shared goal of rehabilitating youth if w...
09/07/2021
The Constitution Prohibits Excessive Bail and Fines, But Minors In Michigan Face Hefty Fees

“We’re not setting families up to successfully help the justice system with the shared goal of rehabilitating youth if we are also burdening those families with unnecessary fines and fees that might be catastrophic to their financial situation.”

Advocates and state officials are evaluating the current status of bail and fees in an effort to ensure youth rights in the state are protected in the criminal justice system.

Back-to-school season means youth defenders will soon be back to defending kids in cases referred to court by schools. B...
09/01/2021

Back-to-school season means youth defenders will soon be back to defending kids in cases referred to court by schools. But don't worry! We've packed lunch for you:https://njdc.info/wp-content/uploads/Back-to-Defending-Youth-in-School.pdf

Back-to-school season means youth defenders will soon be back to defending kids in cases referred to court by schools. But don't worry! We've packed lunch for you:https://njdc.info/wp-content/uploads/Back-to-Defending-Youth-in-School.pdf

“The current juvenile justice system is a failure for virtually all who come in contact with it. It does not rehabilitat...
09/01/2021
‘Burn Down the House’: An Expert Calls for Abolishing the Youth Justice System | The Crime Report

“The current juvenile justice system is a failure for virtually all who come in contact with it. It does not rehabilitate or correct, nor does it problem solve, and it does not increase societal well-being or safety.”

The current youth justice system is a “failure for virtually all who come in contact with it,” argues University of Florida Family Law expert Nancy E. Dowd in a new paper.

Students of color are more likely to attend schools with police, but no school counselors. Every $ spent on police, meta...
08/31/2021

Students of color are more likely to attend schools with police, but no school counselors. Every $ spent on police, metal detectors & surveillance cameras is a dollar that could instead be invested to support students. #PoliceFreeSchools www.policefreeschools.org

Students of color are more likely to attend schools with police, but no school counselors. Every $ spent on police, metal detectors & surveillance cameras is a dollar that could instead be invested to support students. #PoliceFreeSchools www.policefreeschools.org

08/27/2021
Health Groups Call for Minimum Age of Jurisdiction

Seven national child & adolescent health professional organizations call for states to set a minimum age of prosecution of at least 12:

"When viewed through the lens of brain development, it is clear that society’s response to such behavior should be to provide children and young adolescents with developmentally appropriate health and social services and not to punish them by involving them with the juvenile justice system."

AAP and other health groups collectively endorse action to institute a minimum age of at least 12 years for juvenile justice system jurisdiction.

"Thousands of West Virginia children are affected by the juvenile justice system every year, but without data or oversig...
08/24/2021
WV stopped measuring whether juvenile justice reforms were helping kids

"Thousands of West Virginia children are affected by the juvenile justice system every year, but without data or oversight, the possibilities of drastic improvements to the system are limited."

A 2015 West Virginia law was meant to simplify the complicated juvenile justice system and provide some oversight. But six years later, its legacy is mixed.

“Children under fourteen years are unlikely to understand and be able to meaningfully participate in the complex procedu...
08/23/2021
American Bar Association Calls for an End to ‘Criminalizing Childhood’

“Children under fourteen years are unlikely to understand and be able to meaningfully participate in the complex procedures of juvenile adjudication proceedings.”

The American Bar Association is pushing the nation’s juvenile justice systems to improve the treatment of children accused of crimes.

"After being worn down by hours of threats, suggestions of leniency, and lies about damning physical evidence, even inno...
08/17/2021
States Are Finally Starting To Rein in Deceptive Police Interrogation Techniques That Lead to False Confessions

"After being worn down by hours of threats, suggestions of leniency, and lies about damning physical evidence, even innocent adults will start to rationalize confessing to a crime they didn't commit."

Devastating examples of how coercive interrogations can lead to false confessions have led Illinois and Oregon to become the first states to limit when police can lie to suspects.

"With its new law, Illinois joins a small group of states—including Delaware, Nebraska, and Tennessee—that have created ...
08/15/2021
Restorative justice won't work without this crucial piece

"With its new law, Illinois joins a small group of states—including Delaware, Nebraska, and Tennessee—that have created special protections for what’s said in a restorative justice process."

Illinois is one of the first states to try it.

The pandemic may have us all staying closer to home than usual, but that hasn’t stopped NJDC’s Senior Youth Defense Coun...
08/10/2021

The pandemic may have us all staying closer to home than usual, but that hasn’t stopped NJDC’s Senior Youth Defense Counsel Kristina Kersey from collecting her favorite souvenirs—enviable local youth defense jurisprudence—from across the country.

https://njdc.info/wp-content/uploads/10-Things-States-Got-Right-in-Youth-Defense.pdf

The pandemic may have us all staying closer to home than usual, but that hasn’t stopped NJDC’s Senior Youth Defense Counsel Kristina Kersey from collecting her favorite souvenirs—enviable local youth defense jurisprudence—from across the country.

https://njdc.info/wp-content/uploads/10-Things-States-Got-Right-in-Youth-Defense.pdf

Excellent news out of Michigan!
07/29/2021
Michigan Supreme Court Limits Use of Restraints on Juveniles

Excellent news out of Michigan!

A year after Grace’s story drew national attention when she was jailed for not doing her online schoolwork, outcry over the shackling of young people in court has resulted in a ban on the practice unless there’s a risk of physical harm or flight.

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1350 Connecticut Ave NW Ste 304
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Monday 9am - 5pm
Tuesday 9am - 5pm
Wednesday 9am - 5pm
Thursday 9am - 5pm
Friday 9am - 5pm

Telephone

(202) 452-0010

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Products

National Juvenile Defense Standards
http://www.njdc.info/pdf/NationalJuvenileDefenseStandards2013.pdf

Toward Developmentally Appropriate Practice: A Juvenile Court Training Curriculum
http://www.njdc.info/pdf/MfC_Training_Curriculum_Overview.pdf

Defending Clients Who Have Been Interrogated at School
The Role of Juvenile Defense Counsel in Delinquency Court (Spanish and English)
Principles in Practice
Juvenile Defender Delinquency Notebook

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After years of development, Rutgers University is thrilled to announce the launch of our Juvenile Justice and Youth Development Certificate Program!
2020 Juvenile Defender Leadership Summit October 15-17, 2020 Virtual WHO ELSE IS IN KANSAS CITY, MO. for THE VIRTUAL SUMMIT?
Could you please sign, share and promote this petition to help me free this woman imprisoned since age 17 just for killing a ra**st!? https://www.change.org/p/mike-parson-free-lisa-dawn-harris and this one too https://www.change.org/p/state-of-texas-vs-ashley-ervin-help-us-get-justice-for-ashley-ervin-free-her-now
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089M41RBJ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_5Ec4Eb4B8S9GG?fbclid=IwAR1-tvxRHtDUpg9yWswLSMEGhSMDMvkXyBAgHMdqZLjc9ayXvs3_d5fISVc Please support the National Freedom and Justice Movement by ordering your copy of Barz Beyond Barz Magazine. With your 10 dollar contribution, we can afford to keep the movement afloat. We feature writings and stories about Confined Citizens across the country. Some seeking help for their cases, others writing about life and society, while others contribute poetry and creative writing. Plus we empower our readers with Human Rights Resources and ways to continue to stand up for justice. Do you have a loved one behind the walls? Do you know someone who is currently or formerly incarcerated who is an artist or writer? Then we want to hear from you. We can also ship directly to you with a 10.00 donation to CashApp ($QueenTahiyrah) or direct mail Kebuka Publishing INK 1623 Dalton Street #14939 Cincinnati Ohio 45250. Thank you for your love and support! Sincerely, Queen Tahiyrah Asafo Ali, Publisher and Editor KEBUKA PUBLISHING INK
Michael Lambrix will be executed on October 5. He needs a clemency hearing to help prove his innocence. Please sign the petition. SAVE Michael "Mike" Lambrix prisoner on death row in Florida Case of Mike Lambrix, his innocence, on death row in the USA, news, updates...See More SAVE Innocents campaign Innocence and the death penalty save-innocents.com SAVE Innocents campaign Innocence and the death penalty SAVE-INNOCENTS.COM ALSO HERE IS A SUGGESTED LETTER FOR THE GOVERNOR................ URGENT REQUEST! MICHAEL LAMBRIX EX*****ON IS SET FOR 10/5/17. PLEASE CONTACT THE GOVERNOR TO MAKE YOU OPINION KNOWN. SILENCE IMPLIES CONSENT. Governor Rick Scott: Tel: 850-488-7146 Email: [email protected] Address: Office of Governor Rick Scott, State of Florida, The Capitol 400, S. Monroe Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-000, USA. Dear Sir, I am writing to you about the case of Cary Michael Lambrix, #482053, with the purpose to respectfully ask for a clemency hearing on his behalf. Michael Lambrix is scheduled for ex*****on on 10/5/2017. I am [describe who you are, any particular moral, human or personal reason why you are writing to them). This case is unique enough that it should compel the State of Florida to grant a special attention to under the form of an official clemency hearing (his last clemency hearing was held over thirty years ago). Many reasons could be given in support of such a hearing, such as: 1. The inordinate length of time already served 2. He has never been given the opportunity to present his version of events as a coherent whole. The members of the Cabinet deserve to hear the full story. 3. Lambrix’s version of events (manslaughter in self-defence) remains credible. By contrast, the case against him appears in many ways legally contentious: - The key witness changed the story she told the police several times - The key witness admitted in court to having had a sexual affair with the State’s lead investigator - Another leading witness later retracted her evidence - Key forensic evidence has gone missing or is unavailable for testing (namely fingernail scrapings and the tire iron) - The State theory of the sequential killing of the two victims appears to many questionable at best. 4. The jury verdicts were not unanimous, but 8-4 and 10-2. Should Mike Lambrix be tried today, he would NOT have been sentenced to death. 5. Mike Lambrix has twice refused offers of a plea-bargain, even though had he done so he would long since have been free. However, there is one human picture that the courts will not be able to address: Mike Lambrix is a man of exceptional intelligence and personal resolve who has educated himself in prison and managed to make his experience valuable to others. He will be next year part of a major exhibition at the Nobel Peace Center in Norway, and his writings, his advice to others on how to pursue legitimate successful lives are already part of a wider, burgeoning effort to educate and encourage the public. Sincerely,