Who We Are
When James Bell founded the W. Haywood Burns Institute to engage juvenile justice system stakeholders in strategies to reduce racial and ethnic disparities, he also set his sights on supporting community based organizations led by people of color who are working successfully with system involved youth …
The CJNY is staffed by a small group of amazing individuals from across the country. These folks travel across the country teaching communities about the CJNY’s work and helping equip them with the training, tools, and knowledge necessary to hold the system accountable.
The CJNY is a national network of organizations. We have chapters, branches, and members in every major metropolitan area, so if you’re looking to get involved, reach out, or get some help, we’re certain there is a CJNY member organization near you. Click below to learn more or find an org near you.
The Community Justice Network for Youth (CJNY) is a program of the W. Haywood Burns Institute, whose core purpose is to protect and improve the lives of youth of color, poor children and their communities by ensuring fairness and equity throughout all public and private youth serving systems.
CJNY supports a network of 180+ organizations across the U.S. working to both stop the Rail to Jail and eliminate racial and ethnic disparities within the juvenile justice system. These groups consist of organizers and practitioners who are on the ground working with youth who are at risk or are already involved in the juvenile justice system.
We do this by employing three core strategic approaches:
Build the capacity of local organizations to:
- Engage in policy work to hold the juvenile justice system accountable to communities of color and
improve and strengthen community programs and organizations.
- Utilize a data driven consensus-based approach to convene traditional and nontraditional stakeholders in order to change policies, procedures, and practices that impact youth of color and poor childre
- Build progressive movement infrastructure through engaging in strategic alliances and partnership that amplify the work of grassroots organizations to influence key sectors of society and social movement relevant to childhood well-being.
CJNY member organizations work across sectors providing direct services to system involved youth, run culturally appropriate alternative to detention programs, work in advocacy, community organizing, cultural arts work and more! All CJNY member organizations have stated their alignment with the following set of core values.
- Children cannot be rehabilitated when housed in cages.
- All young people deserve to be treated equally and fairly by the systems that serve them.
- All young people have a voice that should be heard and included in the decision – making processes that impact their lives.
- To protect and improve the lives of young people of color and poor children, we must intentionally engage their communities.
- Most young people in trouble with the law are best served by alternatives to incarceration.
- The process of making change and achieving fairness and equity for youth of color and poor children must be one that is intentionally inclusive of many voices by convening traditional adversaries and creating an environment that is respectful of divergent views.
- When young people of color and poor children are provided with sufficient resources, guidance, support, safety, and positive interventions, they can fulfill their potential as contributing members of their communities.
- A data-driven approach is essential to address systemic issues that involve race.