Fair Youth Sentencing Efforts


 
Action Alert

The CFSY and our partners at Human Rights for KidsNational Juvenile Justice NetworkHuman Rights WatchCoalition for Juvenile JusticeAnti-Recidivism CoalitionFirst Focus Campaign for Children, and Rights4Girls have been leading advocacy efforts in Congress to change the way children are treated in the federal criminal justice system. In April, a bipartisan coalition led by Congressmembers Karen Bass, Tony Cárdenas, and Bruce Westerman introduced the most sweeping criminal justice reform package focused on children to date. If signed into law, these measures will fundamentally change the way kids in the justice system are treated by:

PROTECTING KIDS AT THE POINT OF ARREST/ENTRANCE INTO THE SYSTEM

H.R. 2834, by Congressman Tony Cárdenas, requires parents to be notified when a child is arrested and requires that the child consult with legal counsel before they can waive their constitutional rights and be subject to custodial interrogation.

ESTABLISHING A MINIMUM JUVENILE AND ADULT COURT AGE; REMOVING KIDS FROM ADULT JAILS & PRISONS; DATA COLLECTION; TREATMENT & SERVICES FOR VULNERABLE YOUTH

H.R. 2908, by Congresswoman Karen Bass, establishes a minimum age of 12 for criminal culpability for children; increases the minimum age for a child to be tried as an adult from 13 to 16; eliminates the felony murder rule for children; prohibits the placement of children in adult jails or prisons; requires data collection on youth who come into the federal criminal justice system; and establishes a grant block program for treatment and services for children under 12 and child victims of commercial sexual exploitation.

REFORMING SENTENCING STANDARDS FOR CHILDREN CONVICTED AS ADULTS & ENDING LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE SENTENCES FOR CHILDREN

H.R. 2858, by Congressman Bruce Westerman, retroactively ends life and de facto life without parole by giving individuals convicted of crimes as children the ability to petition a judge for sentencing review and modification after serving 20 years; gives judges the ability to depart from mandatory minimums when sentencing children; and protects child sex crime victims from harsh sentencing when they commit acts of violence against their abusers.

We need your help to spread the word and to show congressional leadership that child sentencing reform has broad bipartisan support and needs to be a priority this Congress. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO: 

Please contact your member of Congress and ask them to join this bipartisan coalition by signing-on as a co-sponsor to H.R. 2834, H.R. 2908, and H.R. 2858. If you don't know who your Representative is, you can easily look them up on the U.S. House of Representatives' website HERE.

When you contact your member of Congress' office, you can use the script below:
 

"My name is __________. I am a constituent of Congressman/Congresswoman __________ and I am calling to let [him or her] know about a bipartisan package of criminal justice reform measures focused on children that was introduced by Representatives Westerman, Bass, and Cárdenas and to urge Congressman/Congresswoman ________ to sign on as a co-sponsor to these important legislative reforms. H.R. 2834 by Congressman Cárdenas will increase due process protections for children who are subject to arrest by ensuring their parents are notified and they consult with an attorney before waiving their constitutional rights; H.R. 2908 by Congresswoman Bass will limit the number of children who are prosecuted as adults and ensure that children are not placed in adult jails or prisons; and H.R. 2858 by Congressman Westerman will end life and de facto life without parole sentences for children prosecuted by the federal government and reform the way children who are convicted in adult court are sentenced. This package of legislative reform is vital to ensuring that we treat children who come into our criminal justice system like children. I hope Congressman/Congresswoman ________ will join this bipartisan effort to protect our children.
Thank you for your time.” 

 

It is as easy as that! Be sure to extend your impact by having your family and friends contact their Members of Congress as well! You can also share our Coalition letter on your social media accounts and sign our Change.org Petition!

We are at a critical time in our work in Congress. Now, more than ever, we must demonstrate our resolve and send an unmistakable message to Congress that children in the justice system deserve better and it is time that we treat kids like kids. H.R. 2834, 2908, and 2858 are a good first step towards accomplishing that. Thank you for your help!

 

Resources to help:
Legislative Issue [HB1437 (2020)]
HB409 (2021) Current Status - This bill passed!!!  Great work!
Bill Summary
Authorizing a court, when sentencing a minor convicted as an adult, to impose a sentence less than the minimum term required by law; prohibiting a court from imposing a sentence of life without the possibility of parole or release for a minor; authorizing an individual convicted as an adult for an offense committed as a minor to file a motion to reduce the duration of the individual's sentence; requiring the court to conduct a hearing on a motion to reduce the duration of a sentence; etc.
JLWOP Map
Sample Letter
Journalism Report (Maryland's JLWOP Status)
Maryland Matters (Commentary,1 of 2)
Maryland Matters (Commentary, 2 of 2)

Names and Contact Information
Maryland Senators' contact information

House of Delegates’ contact information

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From our Forum in October 2020
Information Packet
Meeting Chat Transcript with Hyperlinks