storytelling: Microphone, sheets of paper and pen.

Elevating Youth Voices and Storytelling Is Crucial in Our Fight for Change

If people lack a sense of connection to a social issue, it is unlikely they will aid in the fight for change. For this reason, when it comes to vulnerable and underrepresented communities, the need for authentic storytelling and a platform to share their stories is heightened. It is an essential and yet, oftentimes overlooked, step in the process of reform and social change.

JJDPA: Building with American flag on roof.

Clear OJJDP Guidance Needed By States in Order to Implement JJDPA Updates

Two months ago today, on Dec. 21, 2018, the Juvenile Justice Reform Act was signed into law. The bill served as the first update to the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) in 16 years — a period long enough for millions of young people to age into and out of a dated juvenile justice system that had seen no major federal changes since 2002.

Don’t Rescue Me: 3 Best Practices for Working with Youth Who Have Been Sexually Exploited

Serving young people who have experienced sexual exploitation demands a high level of critical thinking and careful planning to ensure best practice. We have identified three core components to effective support and service that could translate for anyone coming into contact with youth who have these experiences.

Najet Miah in 2010 (left) and today.

Prison Brought Me Back to Allah

I scrolled down my Instagram feed when I spotted it. It was an image of a jail cell on Rikers Island. Below was a caption that read, “Free studio apartment in a gated community with ocean views and vintage style rod-iron double doors. Excellent security and free laundry.”

girls: Artist fingers with brush, doing artwork

Girls in Justice System Need to Express Themselves; We Need to Hear Them

In a society where those behind bars are unqualifiedly perceived as corrupt and deserving of punishment, “I Am the Voice: Girls’ Reflections from Inside the Juvenile System” reminds us that girls are the fastest-growing segment of the juvenile justice system, largely due to the criminalization of their trauma. In order to create effective and sustainable systems reform, we must center the opinions of justice-involved girls who are the experts on their lived experiences.

TAG: Isolated thinking man face looking up. Low-key, black and white portrait. Hope concept.

I Found Purpose in Prison, and Not Just to Build Paper Trail for the Parole Board

I murdered him. I stabbed him 51 times in his sleep, and now his name likely evokes in people close to him funny, warm and wonderful memories of a man they still love. And then it evokes pain because they remember, they realize suddenly after a happy thought and a smile that he was brutally taken from them for no real reason.