VICTORY: Raise the Age Legislation Passes the NYS Legislature

Youth Represent Executive Director Laurie Parise stood behind Governor Andrew Cuomo as he signed historic legislation raising the age of criminal responsibility in New York to 18.  Since our inception in 2007, Youth Represent has been a leader in the campaign to Raise the Age.  The founding principle of Youth Represent is that young people involved in the justice system need opportunities to succeed, not a lifetime of stigma.  This principle guides our client representation and our Raise the Age advocacy.  Over the past ten years we have drafted legislation, advocated directly with policy makers, and most importantly ensured that the voices of young people affected by the justice system were heard.

This legislation is a critical victory.  It proves that New Yorkers care about justice-involved teenagers and that we can agree that punishing them as we do adults harms kids and doesn’t do anything to improve public safety.  It also leaves an enormous amount of work to be done.  That’s why we remain committed to monitoring its implementation and will not back down from pushing for further reform. We look forward to building on these shared values as we continue to advocate for justice-involved youth.

You can read our official statement on the Raise the Age legislation here.

Outten & Golden named Youth Represent one of its 2017 Resisters

Youth Represent was among the recipients of Outten & Golden’s 2017 Public Interest Awardees.  Since 2008, Outten & Golden has recognized a single nonprofit organization each year, but announced that this year, “in response to a rising tide of intolerance,” they would recognize three groups fighting for the civil rights of vulnerable communities.  Youth Represent was proud to stand alongside Council on Islamic-American Relations-NY and the NYS Youth Leadership Council in accepting the award.

 

Youth Represent has been working in partnership with Outten & Golden on a number of employment discrimination cases.  We are leveraging their firm capacity with our expertise in serving youth to bring cases on behalf of justice-involved young people who are being denied jobs because of their criminal histories–in violation of New York State law and New York City’s ban-the-box law.

Youth Represent recognized with national reentry grant

“The future of our nation depends upon the future of our young people – including young people who have become involved with our justice system,” said U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “By helping justice-involved youth find decent jobs and stable housing after they return home, these critical grants provide a foundation for a fresh start and offer a path towards productivity and purpose.”

“The future of our nation depends upon the future of our young people – including young people who have become involved with our justice system,” said U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “By helping justice-involved youth find decent jobs and stable housing after they return home, these critical grants provide a foundation for a fresh start and offer a path towards productivity and purpose.”

As the U.S. commemorates our first National Reentry Week, Youth Represent is proud to announce that, in partnership with the New York City Housing Authority, we have been awarded a Juvenile Reentry Assistance Program grant from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) to expand our community-lawyering model to public housing here in New York.  The announcement was made yesterday by Attorney General Loretta Lynch and HUD Secretary Julian Castro during a Reentry Roundtable event.  Only 18 grants were awarded nationwide.

“Reconnecting young people who’ve paid their debt to society to decent jobs and housing allows them to turn the page and become active, productive members of their communities,” said Secretary Castro at the event. “These grants offer a helping hand to those who deserve a second chance so they have a real opportunity to reach their full potential.”

Our project will offer the same combination of direct legal representation, Know Your Rights workshops, and capacity building that have become the hallmark of our successful community-lawyering model. Our staff will be on-site at New York City Housing Authority developments across the five boroughs, meeting young people where they live to minimize legal barriers to reentry.