Taking Back our Children: A Call for Youth Justice Reform

Taking Back our ChildrenIn this program, we focus on the public awareness campaign to Raise the Age in New York State, which is working towards raising the age of criminal responsibility, ending the practice of housing children in adult jails and prisons, and ensuring that children in the justice system receive age-appropriate rehabilitative services.

Our guests are Kelvin Lazaro, a St. Joseph’s college student and writer in Herstory’s Youth Writing for Justice Program on that campus, Elizabeth Powers, Senior Juvenile Justice Policy Associate of Children’s Defense Fund, NY. and Angelo Pinto, Campaign Manager for the Raise the Age Campaign of the Juvenile Justice Project of the Correctional Association of New York. Our host is Silvia Heredia of Herstory Writers Workshop.

Herstory’s work with Raise the Age is funded by Long Island Community Foundation

Putting a Face on Statistics: A Teenager in Jail

Taking Back our ChildrenJust days after his 17th Birthday, Kelvin Lazaro found himself at Riker’s Island, in 23-hour lock down. In a space where storytellers and activists meet, he shares an opening moment where the listener finds him dreaming of the life that can no longer be, as the reality of his new life comes forth with grim, heartbreaking reality. As Elizabeth Powers, of Children’s Defense Fund, shares her response to the story, Kelvin becomes not just one, but representative of 700 young people locked away in one of New York State’s most violent facilities.

Breaking Spirits Within Broken Systems/ A Call for Change

Kelvin reads into the second half of his day, where we learn that he has chosen to remain behind bars rather than render his family homeless through paying his bail, where he draws more deeply into his dreams in contrast to having to choose to join other prisoners who beat up upon newcomers or become one of the beaten. As the conversation goes from the empowerment of using one’s story to help others into the statewide movement for youth justice reform, Angelo Pinto speaks of what he has seen in Greene Facility, a state prison where many young people are housed, through the Correctional Association’s Prison Visiting Project that started in 1846.

Want to Follow the Raise the Age Book Chain? Click here

Check out where Taking Back our Children Reading Circles have been below and if you want to add your reading circle to the list then follow the instructions below

1. Click “Additions”

2. Click “Add Marker – Simple”
3. Enter your name or organization under “Entry Name”, your address under “Location”,

and any brief comments you may have under “Description”

4. Change the color of the marker, or upload a photo to be unique!

5. Hit “Submit”

Leave a Reply