JJC News and Updates

Vast Majority of Ohioans Favor Community-Based Alternatives to Youth Incarceration (3/10/21)

New Poll Shows Strong Bipartisan Support for Rehabilitation Programs Over Placing Young People Behind Bars

Columbus, OH – Today, Youth First Initiative and Juvenile Justice Coalition released a new poll showing a vast majority of Ohioans favor investing in community-based alternatives to youth incarceration. The poll found 81% support for a youth justice system focused on prevention and rehabilitation rather than punishment.

After a year of uprisings for Black lives led significantly by young people, reforming the youth justice system to focus on rehabilitation over punishment continues to have overwhelming support across the country. Across identities, the majority of Americans believe that youth would be best served by community-based supports such as intensive rehabilitation, education, job training and community services, not taken away from their communities and support systems and incarcerated. These beliefs were echoed by Ohioans and support the findings of a new Policy Matters Ohio report which provided a roadmap on how to reduce youth incarceration by fully funding community-based alternatives. 

Continue reading Vast Majority of Ohioans Favor Community-Based Alternatives to Youth Incarceration (3/10/21)

ACLU of Ohio, Children’s Law Center, and Juvenile Justice Coalition Condemn Lack of Transparency Around Teen’s Death in Ohio Facility (2/16/21)

COLUMBUS – Following the death of a teenager in Circleville Juvenile Correctional Facility (CJCF) in August 2020 and continued calls for transparency, ACLU of Ohio, Children’s Law Center, and Juvenile Justice Coalition released the following statement: “It has been almost six months since a young person died alone in a locked cell at the Circleville … Continue reading

Ohio Children’s Budget Coalition Press Release Re: Policy Recommendations (1/19/21)

Five new policy briefs were released by the Ohio Children’s Budget Coalition (OCBC) today, building on a dozen others released over the last month outlining specific budgetary recommendations for the DeWine Administration and state leaders to ensure funding decisions meet the needs of Ohio children and families during the pandemic and beyond. Read more...

Ohio Children’s Budget Coalition Policy Issue Brief: Youth Incarceration (12/30/20)

Juvenile incarceration is a high-cost policy with a low return on investment. Each year, Ohio spends an average of $185,303 per year to incarcerate one child–money that can and should be invested more effectively. Incarceration inflicts bodily harm on youth, is rife with racial disparities, restricts opportunities for youth to become well-educated and financially stable, and does not improve recidivism rates. Upstream investment in Ohio’s children will prevent their involvement in the juvenile justice system. In the meantime, the state should shift spending away from youth confinement and towards local and community alternatives with robust data collection that ensures programs treat the root causes of issues in children’s lives. Read More…

Statement on Passing of SB 256, ending Life Without Parole for youth in Ohio (12/18/20)

Following the Ohio Legislature’s vote to pass Senate Bill 256 in the House,
eliminating the ability to sentence juveniles to life without parole, Kenza Kamal, Policy Director at the Juvenile Justice Coalition of Ohio (JJC), released the following statement:
We applaud the Ohio Legislature for voting to end the cruel practice of sentencing juveniles to life without parole with an overwhelming majority. JJC has advocated to end these harsh sentences for years, and we’re proud to have joined the activists, organizations, and families and young people harmed by the juvenile criminal system who supported the passage of S.B. 256. The passing of this bill is long overdue, and we await Governor DeWine’s signature to enact the law and modify the sentence of any young people currently incarcerated with life without parole.Read More…

JJC Applauds Ohio on for Revoking License of Dangerous Youth Facility (12/14/20)

Last Friday, the Juvenile Justice Coalition of Ohio (JJC),the National Juvenile
Justice Network (NJJN), and multiple state and national organizations sent a letter to Lori Criss, Director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (MHAS), urging the department to revoke the license of Sequel Pomegranate. The letter detailed the behavioral health facility’s history of severe safety and health violations against its young residents along with dangerous conditions at Sequel
facilities nationwide. Later that afternoon, the MHAS announced its decision to rescind the facility’s license to operate with the opportunity to reapply in ten months, adding Ohio to a list of states that have taken decisive action against the for-profit company. Read More…

Ohio JJC and Coalition Help Revoke Sequel Pomegranates License (12/14/20)

What started with findings from Disability Rights Ohio about inappropriate restraint and numerous abuses at Sequel Pomegranate, a facility charged with caring for teens with mental health and behavioral health needs, led to a long battle by advocates to remove kids from the facility and revoke its operating license.  Late Friday, December 11th, an important victory was won when Sequel relinquished their license.  While this is a critical step to ensure no kids would be subjected to continued abuses, the state left the option open for Sequel to reapply for licensure after ten months.  Read more…

Juvenile Justice Coalition and People’s Justice Project To Host #FreeOurselves Court Support Rally (9/22/20)

On Tuesday, September 22, the Juvenile Justice Coalition and People’s
Justice Project will host a rally outside the Franklin County Courthouse to support a young person before his court appearance. This young black community member was kept in detention for his family’s inability to pay his bond and remained in the Franklin County Juvenile Detention Facility for eight months, where he contracted COVID-19. Read More…

Juvenile Justice Coalition of Ohio Statement on Death in Circleville Juvenile Correctional Facility (8/31/20)

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.”