Juvenile Justice Coalition

Speaking Out with Ohio's Youth

Category: Uncategorized

Juvenile Justice Advocates Express Concern about Youth in Shelter Care & Non-Secure Residential Facilities in Letter to Juvenile Stakeholders (April 4, 2020)

COLUMBUS – The ACLU of Ohio, Center for Children’s Law and Policy, Children’s Law Center, Juvenile Justice Coalition, National Association of Social Workers-Ohio Chapter, and Policy Matters Ohio sent a letter to Director Gies of the Ohio Department of Youth Services, Director Hall of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, juvenile judges, and court administrators to express concern about youth in shelter care and non-secure residential facilities being unnecessarily exposed to COVID-19. The organizations acknowledged and thanked Director Gies for recent transparency efforts to publicize information about youth in detention and correctional facilities across the state, but urge immediate action steps for all-systems involved youth.

Continue reading at ACLUOhio.org

Ohio Prison & Youth Facilities Now Providing Daily Updates Re: COVID-19 Following Coalition Request (March 26, 2020)

COLUMBUS – Amid public pressure for enhanced transparency, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) and the Ohio Department of Youth Services (DYS), complied with advocacy groups’ request for daily, public report-outs on the COVID-19 situation in Ohio’s prisons and youth facilities.

Continue reading at ACLUOhio.org

Ohio Advocacy Groups Urge Ongoing Transparency Regarding COVID-19 Concerns in Prisons and Youth Facilities (March 24, 2020)

COLUMBUS – Today the ACLU of Ohio, Americans for Prosperity-Ohio, Juvenile Justice Coalition, the Ohio Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, Ohio Organizing Collaborative, Ohio Student Association, and Policy Matters Ohio sent a letter to Governor DeWine, ODRC Director Chambers-Smith, and DYS Director Gies with three sets of questions about the COVID-19 crisis and Ohio’s incarcerated population.

Continue reading at ACLUOhio.org

Juvenile Justice Coalition of Ohio Statement on Death in Circleville Juvenile Correctional Facility

Columbus, OH, August 31 2020 — Following the death of a young person in Circleville Juvenile Correctional Facility (CJCF), Kenza Kamal, Policy Director at the Juvenile Justice Coalition of Ohio (JJC) released the following statement:

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of a young person in the Circleville Juvenile Correctional Facility. This death is a tragedy for our community, and we extend our condolences to his family and friends. It is already unimaginable to be separated from your loved ones and placed in a system that inflicts more damage than good, and knowing his loved ones and fellow incarcerated youth are enduring a loss in those conditions is even more devastating.

“It is also troubling that the Ohio Department of Youth Services decided to disclose his charge to the public. This practice must end, and we ask that the privacy of youth and families is protected.

“We call for a thorough and transparent investigation and for CJCF to ensure counselors are available to young people in the facility and his family.”

 

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Juvenile Justice Coalition is a statewide organization that works through policy advocacy and with Ohio youth and families who are at risk of involvement or involved in the juvenile court system.

For Black Lives to Matter, We Must #FreeOurYouth

Juvenile Justice Coalition demand release of detained and incarcerated Ohio youth 

Columbus, OH, July 16, 2020 — Last month, one of the mothers that works with the Juvenile Justice Coalition (JJC), a state-wide advocacy organization that works with Ohio youth who are at-risk of involvement or involved in the juvenile court system, celebrated the freedom of her child from detention in Franklin County after recovering from COVID-19. The teenager was incarcerated in November for his family’s inability to pay bond and remained in the detention center for eight months. Although bail is used sparingly in the juvenile justice system in Ohio, research shows the cash bail system is constructed to be harmful to those who are Black, Latinx, and poor. In May, he joined the long list of youth who contracted COVID-19 in juvenile facilities. The disparate impact of the COVID-19 crisis on communities of color is closely tied to the systemic racism of  the criminal legal system.

“Seeing one of our young people home with their family and with their support system breathes life into this movement for Black lives. It is a beautiful reminder that we can free our youth, and free ourselves,” said Tammy Fornier-Alsaada, JJC’s lead organizer.

In a statement from the young person’s mother, she said:

My child was forgotten in the state’s COVID-19 response, and he just sat there lost in the system.

I’m extremely frustrated because I’d been pleading with the Franklin County Detention Center to release my child so he could socially distance safely at home with me. Like many in the youth justice system, he has mental health issues and pre-existing conditions like asthma that make him very vulnerable during this time. He was also pretrial, so I’m not sure why he needed to be held when he is innocent in the eyes of the law.

He suffered through what was essentially solitary confinement for over 14 days and received very few showers and food. And the medical care has been very poor so it’s obvious the facility can not properly care for children.

My son is better off with me where I can watch over him. And in the meantime, I need facilities to be more transparent and share consistent updates on how they plan to protect youth behind bars.”

As the pandemic worsens, JJC is continuing to demand the release of youth who are currently detained or incarcerated in both state and local facilities in Ohio, stopping the arrest or incarceration of additional youth, and giving detained youth fully free access to phone and video communication with their families and support systems, amongst other recommendations.

 

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Juvenile Justice Coalition is a statewide organization that works through policy advocacy and with Ohio youth and families who are at risk of involvement or involved in the juvenile court system.