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Thousands to Participate in National Youth Justice Awareness Month Activities throughout the Country

Thousands to Participate in National Youth Justice Awareness
Month Activities throughout the Country

 Twenty-eight Events in 20 States are designed to Raise Awareness around the Issue of Youth Being Tried, Sentenced and Incarcerated in the Adult Criminal Justice System; Release of a New Public Service Announcement Aimed to Empower Families Impacted

WASHINGTON – During the month of October, thousands of people are participating in National Youth Justice Awareness Month (Y-JAM) activities throughout the country.  National Youth Justice Awareness Month was created five-years-ago by a Missouri parent, Tracy McClard, whose 16-year-old son was tried and prosecuted as an adult, and ultimately took his own life while incarcerated in an adult prison.  McClard serves as the National Chairperson for Y-JAM. 

Over 25 events are taking place throughout the country in 20 states including the District of Columbia.  Events range from service days, 5K walks/runs, film screenings, art shows, poetry slams and conferences.Local non-profits, volunteers and family members directly affected by the social injustice of having the youth in their lives charged, prosecuted and sentenced in the adult criminal justice system have organized the events.

 “Many parents or family members think they’re alone when a young loved one is placed into the adult justice system,” said McClard.  “The support that we receive, not only from the non-profit community but also from other parents that are part of the Campaign for Youth Justices’ Join the Movement campaign, have helped many families navigate the murky waters of the adult justice system and have given us a voice to advocate for our children.”

The Campaign for Youth Justice sponsored and provided technical assistance, including limited financial support and informational materials, to the Y-JAM events.

“We are excited to take part in this national movement to draw awareness to the issues that youth and their families face while in the adult justice system,” said Liz Ryan, Executive Director of the Campaign for Youth Justice.“Every year, an estimated 250,000 youth are tried, sentenced, or incarcerated as adults.  Youth sentenced as adults receive an adult criminal record, are denied employment and educational opportunities, and can be barred from receiving student financial aid.  As a parent, how can you help your child get back on their feet, not to mention the abuse that youth often face while being incarcerated with adults?  It’s a no win situation for the youth, their family and society.”

 As part of National Youth Justice Awareness Month, the Alliance for Youth Justice, formerly the National Parent Caucus, will release a Public Service Announcement (PSA) that was designed to put a face to the issue of youth in the adult criminal justice system.  Founded in 2008, the National Parent Caucus was created by the Campaign for Youth Justice to engage and empower families to advocate in their communities for their children that were impacted by the system.  Now in its fourth year, the organization has rebranded itself to be inclusive of youth and allies.  

 For more information about Y-JAM or to view the new PSA visit or Follow us on Twitter @ JusticeForYouth and Like us on Facebook at:Campaign for Youth Justice


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Models for Change is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, website operated by Justice Policy Institute.