Building Statewide Momentum for Juvenile Justice Reform

Every young person deserves access to adequate support and opportunities to reach their full potential.

Unfortunately, our current juvenile justice system is like an exceptionally difficult maze, with too many paths in and too few ways out. Too many children and youth in City Heights and in working communities of color across our state are unjustly stripped from their potential and funneled into the criminal justice maze.

Instead of funneling youth into the school to prison pipeline, we should be leading them to the opportunities that will help them develop into happy, healthy, contributing members of their community. While our roots are in City Heights, redesigning the juvenile justice system will have an impact beyond our region and state. So, we are building statewide momentum to ensure all youth, regardless of their zip code, can reach their dreams.

Mid-City CAN's Peace Promotion Momentum Team introduced the School Climate Bill of Rights (SCBOR) in 2017 to prioritize restorative practices over punishment in San Diego Unified. Now, we are working to ensure all Californians are aware of and can benefit from the healing and growth that take place using restorative practices over punishment, such as expulsions from school and incarceration.

On March 13, Assemblywomen Weber will introduce ACR8 to the assembly to designate September as Restorative Practices in School Awareness Month. ACR8, sponsored by Mid-City CAN and modeled after the SCBOR, is a strong first step in securing future funding and legislation to dismantle the school to prison pipeline and ensuring all youth are safe, supported, and thriving.

In February, Mid-City CAN's Executive Director, Diana Ross, joined MBK Rising! to participate in statewide strategizing to reform the juvenile justice system. MBK Rising! is a national gathering hosted by My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Alliance, an initiative of the Obama Foundation. MBK Rising! convenes hundreds of cross-sector leaders, practitioners, and youth who work tirelessly from across the country to ensure nothing stands in the way of boys and young men of color (BYMOC) achieving their dreams.

Ensuring positive outcomes for all youth is everyone's responsibility. Mid-City CAN is committed to redesigning the juvenile justice system by building bridges of opportunity in our region, state, and beyond!

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