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Archive for December, 2009

Close to sixty people attended the Virginia State Crime Commission meeting in Richmond yesterday.  There were lots of new faces, old friends, and all around wonderful enthusiasm.  Thanks to all who made the trip!!  Liane Rozzell’s message “There’s also no chance child advocates will quit fighting for change” was definitely heard loud and clear.

Check out the media coverage of the day’s events:

State Lawmakers Stuck on Juvenile Courts, NBC 29, December 15, 2009.

Virginia Crime Panel Extends Juvenile Justice Study, CBS 6, December 15, 2009.

Parents Seek Juvenile Justice Changes, NBC 12, December 15, 2009.

VA Crime Panel Extends Juvenile Justice Study, Associated Press, December 15, 2009.

Virginia Panel Hears About Juvenile Justice Disparities, “Sexting” Laws, Richmond Times Dispatch, December 16, 2009.

Don’t Charge Juveniles as Adults, Advocates Urge, Virginian Pilot, December 16, 2009.

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The Washington Post editorializes today about the importance of reauthorizing the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act:

Jailing Juveniles – Sensible fixes to youth crime and delinquency policies, Washington Post, December 14, 2009.

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Virginia Crime Commission News

On Tuesday evening, the agenda for the December 15th meeting of the Virginia State Crime Commission was made public (http://vscc.virginia.gov/December152009.html).  I am saddened to share with you that the Crime Commission has decided to study the issue of juvenile transfer for another year rather than make recommendations for legislation this year.  The Commission feels that more data about this practice and the youth who are being transferred is necessary before moving forward with legislation.

While this is disappointing news, it is not a loss or the end.  We believe that more data will further highlight the problems with Virginia’s transfer system making the need for change even more apparent.  A year of additional time will allow us to add more groups to the 45+ already showing their support for reform by signing on to the Campaign, to open the eyes of more people to the problems with trying youth as adults, to gather more stories about how transfer is impacting our youth, families, and communities, and to grow the Don’t Throw Away the Key Campaign.

WE MUST REMAIN VIGILANT AND PROACTIVE! Transfer will be addressed, albeit briefly, at the hearing and opportunity for public comment will be very limited.  We understand if you choose not to attend the meeting because of this change in the agenda. However, it is still important to attend the Crime Commission hearing on December 15th at 10 a.m.  so that the members of the Commission understand that this is an important issue and we remain committed to the cause.

We are planning a press conference to begin at 11:30 a.m. This will give those of you who support the Don’t Throw Away the Key Campaign and want an opportunity to express your support the chance to speak with the press.  If you would like to speak, please contact Grace Bauer at gbauer@cfyj.org or (443) 418-5201.

Please also plan on joining us for lunch and a planning session on next steps.  We need to keep the momentum that this Campaign has gathered up over the next year and can only do this with your help. Lunch will follow the press conference (starting around 12:30 p.m.) and will be held at 626 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23219-1890.  If you plan to come to lunch, please respond to this email or call Kate Duvall at 434-977-0553 ext. 146.

If you choose not to make the trip to Richmond this time, please be on the lookout for further news from the Don’t Throw Away the Key Campaign.

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Editorials calling for juvenile transfer reform in Virginia ran in both the Washington Post and the Daily Progress this weekend. See the links below:

Justice for Virginia Juveniles, The Washington Post, December 6, 2009.

The Case for Changing Law, The Daily Progress, December 6, 2009.

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