November 2015 Newsletter: Giving Thanks & Reflecting on the Holidays
Gearing up for #GivingTuesday
As we reflect on Thanksgiving and the first year of implementing YSRP's innovative service delivery model, we are eternally grateful for the support we have received from people like you. In YSRP’s pilot program, we worked with nearly 20 children and their families, providing mitigation services to ensure that courts understand that children are defined by more than charges filed against them. We have also provided transition services to expand the kindness, hope and opportunity in our clients' lives. We believe that we will be safer and healthier as a community if we help children address their needs (in areas like education, housing and healthcare), rather than condemn them to adult jails and prisons.
As we enter the holiday season, we stand with our clients who are currently incarcerated, and their families who are missing members during the holidays and into the New year. Please stand with us on #GivingTuesday by making a gift of any size here.
With your help, we can bring YSRP’s unique model of providing long-term and holistic advocacy to more youth being charged in the adult criminal justice system and their families in 2016. Please share our campaigns on social media or by email, using the hashtag #allkidscanthrive.
Thank you for your support and for enabling us to do this work! It is truly a privilege.
Lauren Fine and Joanna Visser Adjoian
YSRP Co-Directors and Co-Founders
Want to stand with YSRP on #GivingTuesday? Donate here!
One of YSRP's clients, Joe*, spentnearly 10 months in an adult jail before he could even have his decertification hearing, where the Judge decided that the juvenile justice system was more appropriate for him. In making the decision to send Joe's case from the adult to the juvenile system, the Judge relied on a report YSRP submitted on Joe's behalf (detailing Joe's life history, his goals, and the supports available to him in the community). Once his case was in juvenile court, Joe had a trial, at which he was found not guilty of the charges against him. Joe went home that day, and YSRP has since helped him expunge his record, get set up with a mentor, a trauma counselor, and enroll at YESPhilly, a school for students who have spent time out of the traditional classroom context. Despite the injustice of what happened to him, Joe is thrilled to be home with his supportive family and describes his new school as "great."
*Please note: YSRP does not use clients' real names out of respect for their privacy.
YSRP at the U.S. Supreme Court
Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on a case that will decide whether Miller v. Alabama will be applied retroactively -- that is, whether states must apply the Court's decision banning mandatory life without parole sentences for children to individuals who are already serving these sentences. YSRP, along with organizations from across the country, joined in an amicus brief authored by the Children & Family Justice Center at Northwestern University, arguing that no child should be required to die in prison without any opportunity to show that they have changed or been rehabilitated.
A copy of the brief, along with the rest of the filings in the case, is available here.
Thank You to our Newest Funders!
The Seybert Foundationis an independent foundation that makes grants to nonprofits serving disadvantaged children and youth in the city of Philadelphia.
TheDouty Foundationseeks to foster equitable opportunities for children and youth by supporting organizations that demonstrate commitment to community engagement, education and grassroots leadership.
YSRP is humbled to join the incredible list of youth-serving
nonprofits that Seybert and Douty support.
Intern Spotlight: Future lawyer trains with YSRP!
YSRP was thrilled to host John Lopez, now a 3L at Drexel Law School, for 10 weeks this past summer. John is currently interning with the Defender Association of Philadelphia, where he has taken on the role of the JDAP Statewide Training Coordinator. John credits his growing passion for advocacy on behalf of youth to the time he spent with YSRP:
"As for my time at YSRP…what can I say? It has by far been the most enriching internship I have ever experienced. Working with two attorneys that are so incredibly driven, intelligent, and hard working has taught me invaluable lessons. Lauren and Joanna’s love for helping the youth is only matched by their genius and diligence. Any student or professional would be lucky to work with YSRP and any client is fortunate to have YSRP fighting for them."
The holidays are approaching and we know you will be busy shopping for gifts. 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 up here.
You, too, can help improve life outcomes for court-involved youth.