October is National Youth Justice Awareness Month (Y-JAM), a month-long series of events around the country organized by the D.C.-based Campaign for Youth Justice.
Y-JAM got its start in 2008 with a 5K Race organized by Missouri parent Tracy McClard to bring public awareness to this issue and to educate Missouri lawmakers. McClard’s 16-year-old son Jonathan, sentenced to 30 years in an adult prison, had recently taken his own life.
- A screening of the film “Juvies” at the University of Alabama-Birmingham
- A roundtable discussion in Illinois called A Vision for the Future: Reimagining the System When Young People Come into Conflict with the Law, produced by the Juvenile Justice Initiative
- The Art, Poetry and Justice Slam in Jackson, Miss.
Many parents or family members think they’re alone when a young loved one is placed into the adult justice system,” said McClard. “The support that we receive not only from the non-profit community but also from other parents that are part of the Campaign for Youth Justices’ Join the Movement campaign, have helped many families navigate the murky waters of the adult justice system and have given us a voice to advocate for our children.”