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In this issue:

CJCJ youth explore Alcatraz and strengthen bonds with mentors

Youth Justice Mentoring Program staff, mentors and clients visit Alcatraz, learn about local history, and build lasting memories with friends

On June 1st, the staff, volunteer mentors, and youth clients of CJCJ’s Youth Justice Mentoring Program (YJM) had the opportunity to visit Alcatraz Island, the infamously isolated federal prison located in the San Francisco Bay. 

As part of its mission to provide positive mentorship to at-risk youth, YJM staff organize outings for youth clients and mentors to share new experiences and simply have fun. 

It takes a lot of time and energy to plan outings but it’s extremely worth it,” says YJM Lead Mentoring Coordinator Therese Turcios. I love the excitement, happiness and gratitude that the youth have every time. These trips not only provide a first time experience for many of our clients, but for some mentors as well.”

I had fun, but I was scared,” said one youth client about her visit to Alcatraz. I couldn’t live in those [cells] like that.” 

Esau, a youth mentor, said, It was nice to have another mentee-mentor field[trip]…It was really exciting just being with the youth and seeing him enjoy himself.”

Thank you to YJM staff and mentors for organizing and participating in this trip to Alcatraz. Keep up the good work! 

DONATE to support more educational outings for youth »

Learn more about the Youth Mentoring Justice Program (YJM) »

New CJCJ reports examine the prosecution of youth as adults

In California, the decision to prosecute youth as adults depends largely on a young person’s race, county, and the district attorney’s political affiliation

This month, CJCJ released two new reports analyzing district attorneys’ (DAs) discretion to prosecute youth in adult, criminal court — a practice known as direct file” — without the input of a judge. This discretion has proven to have negative consequences: the data show large discrepancies in the use of direct file according to a youth’s race and ethnicity, home county, and the political affiliation of the DA

The first report, Justice by Geography: Do Politics Influence the Prosecution of Youth as Adults?, found, not only that a majority of DAs in California are Republican, but a youth arrested for a felony in 2014 was 2.4 times more likely to be charged as an adult in a county with a Republican DA compared to a Democratic DA. African American youth in counties with a Republican DA were 5 times more likely to be direct filed, and Asian youth were 9.4 times more likely.

The second report, The Prosecution of Youth as Adults: A county-level analysis of prosecutorial direct file in California and its disparate impact on youth of color, co-authored by the National Center for Youth Law and the W. Haywood Burn’s Institute, found that racial disparities in direct file have grown since 2003. While the rate of direct file is decreasing for white youth, it has increased for Black and Latino youth.

Despite a 55 percent decrease in youth felony arrests, the report also discovered that prosecutors are increasingly charging youth as adults. These opposing trends suggest that there is no clear relationship between serious crime and the use of direct file.

Read Justice by Geography: Do Politics Influence the Prosecution of Youth as Adults?” »

Read The Prosecution of Youth as Adults: A county-level analysis of prosecutorial direct file in California and its disparate impact on youth of color” »

CJCJ’s Children’s Waiting Rooms receive donations for families

Bay Area youth who visit the Children’s Waiting Rooms now have brand new pajamas, slippers, and sleepwear donated by City Youth Now

CJCJ thanks City Youth Now for its generous donation of over 20 brand new pajama sets and slippers to the children who visit the Children’s Waiting Rooms (CWR) at San Francisco’s courthouses. 

The majority of children visiting the Children’s Waiting Rooms come from low-income families. This donation alleviates the financial burdens many parents face.These cozy and fashionable pajama sets, covered with their favorite cartoon characters, provide a source of comfort to children. 

The Children’s Waiting Room, located in San Francisco’s Hall of Justice and Civic Center Courthouse, is a free childcare service for parents who have business with the courts. The San Francisco Superior Court established the Children’s Waiting Room in 1991 which was the first of its kind in the nation and continues to fund this important service for court users. 

Going to court can be a frightening and traumatic experience for children, but the Children’s Waiting Room provides a fun and happy place for youth who would otherwise have to accompany their parents to the courtroom. The waiting rooms are run by attentive staff who are passionate about child care, and provide children a safe place to play games, make crafts, and engage in fun activities. 

Help a child today and DONATE to the Children’s Waiting Rooms »