Convening inspires and charts path forward

Last week’s annual convening highlighted the broad, diverse power of our movement as directly impacted individuals, litigators, advocates, policymakers and other partners came together to discuss where we are as a movement and chart a plan for moving forward.

More than 140 people from 28 states and the District of Columbia joined us for three days of plenaries, workshops, informal conversations and advocacy activities. Among them were 17 members of the Incarcerated Children’s Advocacy Network (ICAN), shining a light on children’s capacity for change and reminding us that we are all more than the worst things we have ever done. They opened and closed the convening with powerful examples of why we should not sentence our children to die in prison, sharing very personal stories as well as some of the ways they have contributed to this advocacy work.

Monday we met with members of Congress and their staff from throughout the country. Our goal was to encourage the Senate to support the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, which includes a provision that would ban life-without-parole sentences in the federal system and provide review opportunities to all children sentenced in the federal system to more than 20 years in prison.

Plenaries and workshops included topics as diverse as an update on the Montgomery v. Louisiana case, which is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, strategies for working with family members of victims, and preparing for the next state legislative session.

The CFSY staff is grateful to those who traveled from near and far to be here. We were energized by the convening and  learned more about how we can better integrate the expertise and thinking of our community into our work now and in the coming years.

Jody Kent Lavy
Director & National Coordinator