Pro Bowl Safety Malcolm Jenkins Highlights the Work of YSRP
This football season, Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins has been analyzing criminal justice issues in Philadelphia in a weekly series in The Philadelphia Citizen. In his Week 11 post, Jenkins focuses on The Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project, and describes his experience earlier in October of visiting Harrisburg with his teammates for an advocacy day. He writes about what it was like to sit and listen to the stories of juvenile lifers who were sentenced, as children, to die in prison. Within the last year, nearly 100 juvenile lifers sentenced in Pennsylvania have come home and continue to lead in their communities on the outside. In Harrisburg with YSRP and partners at the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, this group of men spoke with legislators and met with Malcolm and his teammates Chris Long and Torrey Smith. In his piece, Malcolm writes:
What stood out to me in meeting with those 10 former juvenile lifers was their remorse, relief and hope. They had a true appreciation for the second chance they were being given as adults to become contributing members of society, and they were grateful to the attorneys and individuals who believed in them to fight for their release.
Malcolm goes onto speak about YSRP and its mission:
Led by attorneys Lauren Fine and Joanna Visser Adjoian, YSRP understands that a child, and a juvenile lifer, is more than what a criminal docket or piece of paper says he or she is. There is so much more to the story—where they came from, their family life, their strengths and their struggles. And YSRP helps tell that story in courts in an effort to get kids’ cases transferred to the juvenile justice system, which is far better equipped to address their needs in education, emotional and physical healthcare, and social development—and in an effort to ensure fair and appropriate resentencing for individuals who were sentenced to life without parole as children.
YSRP is grateful to Malcolm for his commitment to learning about the intractable criminal justice issues that plague our city, including the practice of locking away young people as if they were adults. We salute his courageous leadership, and his efforts to bring along both players and managers as he paves the way for powerful reform in Philadelphia. Click below to read the full article, and please consider supporting YSRP’s work with a meaningful gift today.