The Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee voted to advance HB 1381 today, which YSRP hopes will usher in a more humane era of support and care for youth involved in the criminal legal system.
On October 20th, the Legal Intelligencer ran an opinion piece authored by YSRP Co-Directors Joanna Visser Adjoian and Lauren Fine on the issue of prosecuting girls in the adult criminal justice system. Previewing the upcoming release of a “Toolkit for Attorneys Representing Girls Charged As Adults,” the article first provides background information on what it is like for a girl sitting in an adult jail:
Consider being a 16-year-old girl convicted of an adult felony, and sentenced to state prison. You find yourself at a prison designed for adults, surrounded by women decades your senior. Because you are the only girl in the adult prison for women, you spend up to 23 hours a day in isolation, in a small cell, with a guard stationed outside your door. This is because of federal regulations designed to protect you, which require that you be “sight and sound” separated from adults. You receive minimal schooling, and you only occasionally interact with the other women prisoners. This experience is not hyperbole. It is the lived experience of girls in adult jails and prisons that we have come to know as advocates at the Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project, and it is a story we seek to both share and address.
Read more about girls in the adult justice system and what YSRP is doing to improve the quality of legal representation they receive here.