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.
We met “YR” in the fall of 2014. She was arrested at age 17. Her co-defendant was her 32 year-old boyfriend, with whom she had been living since she left the foster care system, after suffering a great deal of abuse. She found out she was pregnant upon being incarcerated. YR was arrested in October, and had her first meaningful court hearing in July; this means that she was waiting in the adult jail for approximately 9 months before she had her “day in court.” She gave birth shortly thereafter. Because parenting her child was paramount, we focused on community-based alternatives to incarceration that would allow her to parent her daughter. We helped her identify educational options and connect to parenting programs and mother-baby support programs to support her in meeting her own, and her child’s, needs. YR is now living at home and attending YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School, where she is on track to graduate in June. She was even recently celebrated for her perfect attendance. Thank you, YR, for letting us walk alongside you in your journey, and we cannot wait to celebrate your graduation with you.