When Kids Are Charged As Adults, the Consequences Aren’t Minor

Tracy McClard is a parent whose teenage son committed suicide in an adult jail. She helped launched National Youth Justice Awareness Month in 2008 with a 5k run in Cape Giradeau, Missouri.

Tracy’s vision was to give voice to youth and their families who are most affected by the justice system. The campaign pushes for change in how states treat youth in conflict with the law, particularly the estimated 250,000 young people who are tried, sentenced, or incarcerated as adults.

Now, five years later, her vision is being realized in Missouri and throughout the country.

Tracy led the effort to give young people more access to rehabilitative opportunities in the juvenile justice system in Missouri. This year, the state legislature unanimously approved and the governor signed “Jonathan’s law,” named for her son who died while in custody.

During the month of October, allies from all over the U.S. come together to engage their communities on youth justice issues. Families and young people host community-led actions and events. And over 20 organizations around the country are hosting National Youth Justice Awareness Month events this year to raise awareness, build collective action, and strengthen relationships with other allies interested in creating long-lasting change in their states.

As part of the activities, states that have undertaken efforts to reduce the prosecution of youth in adult criminal court and end the placement of youth in adult jails and prisons will be highlighted, as well as the youth, families, and advocates who championed these reforms.

Spread the word and learn more about how you can get involved at the Campaign for Youth Justice website.

3 Comments

I wonder if you have ever raised this question to the Justice Department to look at this issue under Title IV & VI as to whether or not the violations of Children Civil Rights are subsided by the USA: and WHY?

The Law sets a age for adulthood in every State as to prohibition on liquor consumption, but yet violate its own law by charging a minor who is not entitle to a drink of liquor: as an Adult?

The DOJ must be held to answer this question as to why
Children Civil Rights to Minor-hood are allowed to be violated with Federal Funding?

Please post my comment Public: this is granted permission to post.
SHALOM,
Ambassador Charles Linder Floyd
Tel: 760-955-1601 or c/p 760-221-9870

In CA I know that some youth are looking at a possibility of several sentencing possibilities. If they are sent to adult prison the time they serve is shorter than if they are sent to CYA. In this manner, adult prison is incentivized to them--and they think they should just "man up." Ultimately, they are not the ones who decide where they go - however I think this time differential may have the effect of stifling outcry over youth going to adult prisons. It seems counterintuitive to complain about less time.

Thank you for your comments!

You make a great point about civil rights violations. We have been raising these issues with the U.S. Attorney General and the Obama Administration.

On California, the state subjects youth to very lengthy sentences if they have been prosecuted in adult criminal court.

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