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Juvenile Justice Project

About the Juvenile Justice Project

Created in 1997, the CA’s Juvenile Justice Project (JJP) works to reduce youth detention and incarceration, to transform the youth justice system from a punitive model into one grounded in positive youth development principles and to support and empower young people who come in contact with the youth justice system. The Project is further committed to working toward a youth justice system that is transparent and accountable to children and their families and communities, legislators and policy-makers and the public. The system we envision and work toward is one in which no child is abused and harmed while in custody, where children are given the tools and skills they need to succeed, and where positive youth development principles translate into increased public safety outcomes.

JJP believes that forming creative partnerships among community groups, family members, justice institutions, youth, and progressive officials is an effective way to change how the youth justice system operates in marginalized communities. A major effort of JJP is coordinating the Juvenile Justice Coalition—a statewide alliance of youth justice and child welfare advocates—that supports and informs JJP’s advocacy agenda. JJP also coordinates Safe Passages—a training program that provides a safe space for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth to develop the skills to join in youth justice reform efforts.

Through its advocacy, youth leadership development program, and coalition work, JJP informs the policy debate on youth justice and promotes a shift towards a less-punitive system grounded in the principle that children should be treated as children.

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