|Friday, 10 April 2009 15:40|
The Community Justice Network for Youth (CJNY) is a program of the W. Haywood Burns Institute that is comprised of community-based programs, grassroots organizations, service-providing agencies, residential facilities and advocacy groups that focus their work on youth of color. CJNY's primary function is to be a support network for organizers and practitioners who are on the ground working with youth at risk or who are already involved in juvenile justice systems.
The idea for CJNY was conceived in the late nineties, amid a flurry of activity around policies and initiatives regarding youth in trouble with the law. At that time, people most impacted by the decision of public officials and foundations were often left out of the conversation. In order to address this deficiency, James Bell of the Haywood Burns Institute and Bart Lubow of the Annie E. Casey Foundation invited seven community-based programs that represented a cross-section of communities of color, and specialized in delivering exemplary services to youth in their communities, to the Alex Haley Farm retreat to share ideas about best practices and determine the feasibility of an national network. There, it was determined that many other organizations across the country were facing similar situations and that the initial group should explore forming a network.
The network would be a national force of grass-roots organizations that serve young people of color, and serve as a place for organizations within the network to support one another. Such organizations were approached and invited to a national organizing meeting to launch the effort, in November 2000 in Austin, Texas. The host organization was one of the original programs, the Southwest Key Program, and the more than 100 people in attendance represented approximately 40 organizations, youth leadership and cultural artistry. Here, the Community Justice Network for Youth was born. Since then, the Haywood Burns Institute and its supporters have secured four full-time staff; Tshaka Barrows, Malachi Larrabee-Garza, Katina Castillo and Tracy Benson to lead in this innovative organizing endeavor.
CJNY's Core Purpose
1. Models of juvenile justice systems that are restorative, accountable, fair and equitable will have been implemented and replicated throughout the U.S.