2021 Federal Legislation on Youth Justice
Together with our partners at Human Rights for Kids, National Juvenile Justice Network, Human Rights Watch, Coalition for Juvenile Justice, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, First Focus Campaign for Children, and Rights4Girls, the CFSY supports a bipartisan package of federal youth justice legislation, which includes H.R. 2858 by Congressman Bruce Westerman (R- AR), H.R. 2908 by Congresswoman Karen Bass (D- CA), and H.R. 2834 by Congressman Tony Cárdenas (D- CA).
This legislative package is intended to create more fair and age-appropriate accountability measures for children who come into the federal criminal justice system. We urge you to join the fight to pass these critical bipartisan bills.
Learn more about this package of bills:
PROTECTING KIDS AT THE POINT OF ARREST/ENTRANCE INTO THE SYSTEM
- Requires parents to be notified when a child is arrested and requires that the child consult with legal counsel before they can waive their Constitutional Rights and be subject to custodial interrogation;
- 04/26/2021 Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.
ESTABLISHING A MINIMUM JUVENILE AND ADULT COURT AGE; REMOVING KIDS FROM ADULT JAILS & PRISONS; DATA COLLECTION; TREATMENT & SERVICES FOR VULNERABLE YOUTH
- Establishes a minimum age of 12 for criminal culpability for children;
- Increases the minimum age for a child to be tried as an adult from 13 to 16;
- Eliminates the felony murder rule for children;
- Prohibits the placement of children in adult jails or prisons;
- Requires data collection on youth who come into the federal criminal justice system;
- Establishes a grant block program for treatment and services for children under 12 and child victims of commercial sexual exploitation.
SENTENCING REFORM & ENDING LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE SENTENCES FOR CHILDREN
- Would retroactively end life and de facto life without parole by giving individuals convicted of crimes as children the ability to petition a judge for sentencing review and modification after serving 20 years;
- Give judges the ability to depart from mandatory minimums when sentencing children (up to 35% away from the minimum);
- Protect child sex crime victims from harsh sentencing when they commit acts of violence against their abusers.
**Please call your United States Representatives TODAY and ask them to support this legislation.**
You can find their information here, and below is a template script you can use when you call:
“My name is [NAME] and I am calling as a constituent of Congressmember ________, to express my support for a bi-partisan package of criminal justice reform measures focused on children that was introduced by Representatives Westerman, Bass, and Cardenas and to urge Congressmember ________ to sign on as a co-sponsor to these important legislative reforms. HR 2858 by Rep. Westerman will end life and de facto life without parole sentences for children prosecuted by the federal government; H.R. 2908 by Rep. Bass will limit the number of children who are prosecuted as adults and ensure that children are not placed in adult jails or prisons; and H.R. 2834 by Rep. Cardenas will increase due process protections for children who are subject to arrest. This package of legislative reform is vital to ensuring that we treat children who come into our criminal justice system like children and finally end the shameful practice of sentencing children to die in prison. I hope Congressmember ________ will join this bipartisan effort to protect our children. Thank you for your time.”