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One week after Election Day, the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice remains as committed to criminal justice reform as we were at our founding. We believe our country and communities are safer when we meaningfully invest in those impacted by violence, trauma, and socio-economic disparities.

Since 1985, CJCJ has pushed to reduce society’s reliance on incarceration as a solution to social problems. We have worked for this necessary change, whether there was a Democrat or a Republican in the White House or the Governor’s Mansion in Sacramento. Our vision for a safer California and America has always been informed by CJCJ’s founder, Jerome Miller. Jerry was a nationally-recognized leader who pushed beyond conventional thinking on justice policy. He led juvenile justice reform in Massachusetts, which became a model and inspired a generation of reformers across the country. He noted:

Who can imagine if their own kid is troubled, that you put them in a place with 2,000 other people that are troubled, and put a wall around them? …in practice it provides a rationale for a quick and easy disposal; get them out of sight and out of mind.” 

Jerry Miller asked that we imagine placing our own loved ones in the justice system and considering if that’s what we would want. CJCJ’s success has been in designing and advocating for innovative practices, which move beyond prevailing political ideologies and biases, to offer services that improve lives and make our communities safer.

Changing Lives

Every day, CJCJ’s 14 direct service programs will continue to support the lives of those Bay Area communities most impacted by our justice system. Our staff work with youth and adults who face specialized needs, including formerly incarcerated people with drug addiction, mental illness, homelessness, and violent criminal histories, and youth involved in the juvenile justice system. Our programs humanize and empower clients to learn, grow, and succeed. 

Changing Systems

CJCJ will continue to support national, state, and local jurisdictions that want to improve their criminal and juvenile justice systems. Our staff provides technical assistance for developing comprehensive community-based reform strategies and programs to address high-needs populations. This work is informed by the agency’s data-driven research and policy analysis combined with its experience developing, implementing, and maintaining model services.

Changing the Future

CJCJ continuously looks to the future, guided by a long-standing commitment to a fair and just society, while addressing the impact of out of sight, out of mind” policies that dehumanize people at great cost to our communities and democracy. We use history and data-driven analyses to inform policymakers, leaders, and the public.

Moving Forward

A humane and sensible justice system will achieve public safety and social justice only if informed by those communities most impacted by our criminal justice system. CJCJ was proud to support California’s Proposition 57, given it included leaders from community-based organizations and those who were systems-impacted. California voters overwhelmingly approved Prop 57 on Election Day, expressing support for a justice system that prioritizes rehabilitation and supportive re-entry. Similarly, voters approved sentencing reform in Oklahoma and bail reform in New Mexico.

However, much work remains to fulfill Jerry’s vision. We are passionate about integrating this work into our direct services, technical assistance, and policy advocacy to change lives, change systems, and change the future. 

Related Links:

Election 2016: A summary of four statewide criminal justice initiatives

A Message from CJCJ’s Executive Director Daniel Macallair

Dr. Jermoe Miller Speaks on Juvenile Justice Reform