Faith based organizations are often called upon to support both adults and youth when they return to the community after incarceration. The support these organizations provide extends far beyond just spiritual guidance and into everyday needs, such as assistance finding work or educational opportunities, obtaining housing, and therapeutic services. While faith based organizations are adept at facilitating individuals’ return to the community after incarceration, this can be an especially daunting task when it comes to young offenders who received adult felony convictions.
These youth face unnecessary obstacles to rehabilitation and reintegration. Youth convicted as adults face not only additional but also more serious and longer lasting consequences than their peers who received juvenile adjudications. These consequences impact a youth’s ability to find employment, educational services, and public assistance, among other things.
In light of these serious consequences and the lasting impact they have on a youth’s ability to become a productive member of society in addition to the special and significant role faith based organizations play in reintegrating formerly incarcerated youth into the community, the Don’t Throw Away the Key Campaign is asking faith based organizations to sign on in support of reforming our system.
By signing the faith based organization sign on letter, your organization will be showing its support for having the best and most experienced decision makers in our juvenile justice system deciding which youth should be tried as adults after a full and fair hearing. The specific requests for reform are:
- Grant youth the right to appeal prosecutorial certification decisions. Support Senator Edwards’ SB 205 carried over from the 2010 General Assembly session. This bill provides youth with a right to appeal to the Circuit Court a prosecutor’s decision to certify the case to Circuit Court OR
- Grant Circuit Court judges the authority to give juvenile adjudications for transferred/certified youth consistent with the sentences they impose.
- Oppose measures that would expand the number of youth who are tried as adults. Bills such as SB 389, which increase the number of crimes eligible for transfer to adult court are likely to increase the problems noted above, without making our communities safer.
To include your organization’s name on the sign on letter, please email or call Kate Duvall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 434-977-0553 ext. 146.