Mitigation Training faculty, including staff from the Capital Habeas Unit of the Federal Community Defender Office in Philadelphia, the ACLU's Capital Punishment Project, AK Investigations, Advancing Real Change, Inc., the Defender Association of Philadelphia, the Phillips Black Project, the Atlantic Center for Capital Representation and the Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project
As we shared with you in late January, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in Montgomery v. Louisiana that its 2012 decision in Miller v. Alabama, barring mandatory life without parole sentences for youth, applies retroactively. The decision guarantees that over 2,000 people nationally, over 500 people from Pennsylvania, and over 300 people from Philadelphia will get resentenced. Importantly, in over 100 of the 300 cases that originated in Philadelphia, individuals have served 30 years or more in prison, since their childhood.
The success of sentencing and parole board hearings, as well as negotiations with prosecutors, will depend largely on the mitigation presentations, or persuasive life history information about each person's childhood, time in prison, and reentry plan for life on the outside if granted release, which lawyers will present with the help of mitigation specialists.
As a result, YSRP, in partnership with the Atlantic Center for Capital Representation, will be training individuals to help create these histories for submission to attorneys and judges in individual cases. On April 8-9, we co-hosted a 2-day training for nearly 50 people, many of whom are completely new to mitigation work. We are grateful to the Defender Association of Philadelphia for hosting the training and to the Proteus Fund, which generously provided support to enable this and future trainings to take place.
Throughout two full days together, training participants learned about the role of mitigation specialists within legal defense teams in juvenile life resentencings, including how to obtain and review records, interact with clients and their family members, and craft effective advocacy documents for submission to lawyers and judges.
We left feeling inspired by the thoughtfulness and skills represented by the graduate students in social work and law, lawyers, social workers, journalists and other professionals who gave up two days to learn and practice with us, and hopeful for how their contributions will lead to results for clients who finally have an opportunity for release.
Our next training will take place on June 9th and 10th.
Lauren Fine and Joanna Visser Adjoian
YSRP Co-Directors and Co-Founders
Join Us This Wednesday at Penn Law!
YSRP is honored to co-sponsor this event with our student group at Penn,
the Youth Advocacy Project (YAP)!
Young Friends of YSRP engages dedicated young professionals to support the critical mission of YSRP. Through participation as a Young Friend, members have the opportunity to volunteer their time, skills, and resources to increase awareness of the challenges faced by kids in the adult criminal justice system and to raise funds for YSRP. Young Friends also benefit from having the opportunity to network socially and professionally within a group of their peers and demonstrate their commitment to eliminating the practice of sentencing children as adults. Read more and apply here!
Please consider shoping at smile.amazon.com, and designating Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project Inc (YSRP) to receive a donation for each purchase you make. Sign uphere.
You, too, can help improve life outcomes for court-involved youth.