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Juvenile Justice Project

Safe Passages Leadership Training

Safe Passages is JJP’s leadership, advocacy and community organizing training program. Safe Passages prepares youth to work as agents of social change in the youth justice and education systems and within their communities. Safe Passages is particularly focused on improving the youth justice system’s treatment of LGBTQ youth. Safe Passages is open to young people from New York City, ages 15 to 21, who either have been directly affected by the youth justice system or are concerned about the system’s injustices. Many of the youth in the program are or have been in the youth justice and/or child welfare system. In addition, the youth and adult justice systems have impacted many of the youth in the program on a family and/or community level.

Throughout the program’s 24-week cycle, participants learn about the youth justice system, while building the skills, knowledge and confidence to become involved in the movement for reform. Safe Passages’ curriculum includes sessions on community organizing, youth criminalization, youth representation in the media, the workings of the youth justice system, and the history of activism in the LGBTQ community. Each cohort, as a group, discusses community topics they are impacted by (i.e. over-policing of schools, LGBTQ youth in the system, homelessness, etc.) and shares ideas on ways to raise awareness and take action on these issues. Safe Passages participants are provided opportunities to advocate for youth justice reform, such as meeting with legislators to discuss their experiences and advocate for policy changes to the youth justice system.

JJP also works with each youth in Safe Passages to identify and implement steps towards the achievement of education and/or career goals. This process is designed to both support young people’s personal development and strengthen their ability to carry out advocacy efforts. Safe Passages also provides leadership opportunities and a structured environment for graduates to keep them connected to the program after graduation.

Apply for Safe Passages

Safe Passages’ 24-week training cycle is open to young people from New York City, ages 15 to 21, who either have been directly affected by the youth justice system or are concerned about the system’s injustices. LGBTQ youth, LGBTQ allies and court involved young people are strongly encouraged to apply. Sessions take place weekly at the Correctional Association’s Harlem office. All participants receive a financial stipend, Metrocard, and dinner and snacks at every session.

To select and recruit motivated youth for its training cycles, Juvenile Justice Project staff carries out outreach to youth programs, aftercare programs, second opportunity schools, community-based programs, and child welfare and youth justice agencies and programs. Youth participants are also recruited through grassroots community flyering and outreach. If you are an interested participant, parent, community member, teacher, or child service provider, and would like to learn more about the program, please contact Tanesha Ingram, Safe Passages Program Coordinator, at 212 254-5700, ext. 316 or tingram@correctionalassociation.org.

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