Hundreds of young people from Virginia and several other states are rallying in Washington, D.C. today to urge President Obama and Congress to pass legislation that protects children in the juvenile justice system. “Children as young as 14 can be tried as adults in Virginia courts, which is counterproductive,” Liane Rozzell, executive director of Families & Allies of Virginia’s Youth, told the Public News Service. The Justice Policy Institute says the majority of kids in juvenile detention are being held for nonviolent offenses and could be managed safely in the community. The protesters are advocating laws that rely less on putting young people behind bars and more on local and community-based programs.
The Community Justice Network for Youth is also hosting a national conference in D.C. today, according to the Center for Media Justice. Today’s events will launch the Network’s “Week of Action,” to push for reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA).