It is not unusual for people who become entwined in the justice system to experience certain hindrances and limitations when it comes to their opportunities in life. Securing education, housing and employment may get a little bit more difficult because of that smear in their criminal record. Everyone deserves a second chance, especially when the offenses are driven by the circumstances they’re in and have no control over. This is particularly true for the youth who end up in the juvenile justice system.
This webinar’s speaker is Naomi Smoot Evans, the Executive Director for the Coalition for Juvenile Justice. In her role, she oversees member relations and development, and various initiatives and efforts related to juvenile justice including federal policies, fundraising, and law enforcement-community relationships.
Specifics she talked about in this session are:
- What the Coalition For Juvenile Justice is – their network, their mission, and goals.
- Statistics that highlight the extent of youth entangled with juvenile justice, experiencing homelessness, and the disproportionality when it comes to LGBTQ youth and people of color.
- Comparing juvenile justice and criminal justice based on its processes, focus, and goals.
- A run-through of the Principles for Change that outline the points that must be considered when dealing with homelessness and delinquency in youth.
- No arrests over quality of life offenses.
- Diversion options tailored to the needs of the youth experiencing homelessness.
- Comprehensive and immediate transition planning for cases where juvenile justice involvement is required.
- Short- and long-term housing options for diverted or transitioned youth.
- Services and necessary support for the youth and their family to ensure stable housing.
- Safeguards that would not deny the youth and their family of housing due to an arrest.
- Including youth perspective when developing and implementing policies and practicing solutions.
- Reduce disproportionality in segments of the youth population affected by homelessness and involved in the juvenile justice system.
- Employ gender-, age-, and culturally-appropriate and trauma-informed approaches.
- Fund efforts and initiatives that aim to understand the issue and address it.
- A look into the common pathways that lead youth to be involved in the juvenile justice system.
- Prevention programs and policy changes to put into effect that supports services, response, and diversion that benefit and safeguard the youth.
- The potential outcomes youth face after juvenile justice involvement.
- Elements to consider in transition planning and must be addressed in re-entry.
Points raised during the Q&A involved:
- The Chapin Hall program’s efforts to understand and address youth homelessness and criminalization.
- Addressing the financial challenges that agencies experience.
- Getting law enforcement onboard with diversion efforts.
- Trends based on research about segments of the youth population that are at greater risk.
- Inclusion of trauma-informed mechanisms to provide support for the youth.
- Ensuring that homeless kids are able to continue education.
- The importance of non-discriminatory service providers.
Resources and Handouts
- “Naomi brings compassion to her education.” — Sakinah
- “I thought the information was very good, and I appreciated the ideas of how to improve our services.” — Mary
- “All the information provided was helpful. I appreciated learning more about the challenges our youth face.” — Kimberly
- “I really enjoyed this Webinar. This information was needed to help me with my job. Thank You.” — Joseph