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The mission of the Pennsylvania Prison Society is to advocate for a humane, just, and restorative correctional system, and to promote a rational approach to criminal justice issues. The Prison Society recognizes that constructive corrections helps to repair the damages of crimes to victims and communities. The equilibrium achieved through this restorative approach, which is both cost effective and humane, benefits and enriches all facets of society and advances the well being of the entire community.
The Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project (YSRP) uses direct service and policy advocacy to transform the experiences of children prosecuted in the adult criminal justice system, and to ensure fair and thoughtful resentencing and reentry for individuals who were sentenced to life without parole as children (“juvenile lifers”). We partner with court-involved youth and juvenile lifers, their families, and lawyers to develop holistic, humanizing narratives that mitigate the facts of each case; get cases transferred to the juvenile system or resentenced; and make crucial connections to community resources providing education, healthcare, housing, and employment. We also provide trainings on mitigation, and recruit, train and supervise students and other volunteers to assist in this work. Our ultimate goals are to keep children out of adult jails and prisons and to enhance the quality of representation juvenile lifers receive at resentencing, and as they prepare to reenter the community.
- HOW TO HELP:
Juvenile Law Center plays a leadership role nationally and in Pennsylvania in shaping and using the law on behalf of children in the child welfare and justice systems to promote fairness, prevent harm, secure access to appropriate services, and ensure a smooth transition from adolescence to adulthood. Most of the youth on whose behalf we work are between 10 and 21 years of age and are among society’s most vulnerable—most likely to be mislabeled, ignored, harmed, or scarred for life by systems that are supposed to help them. We work to protect and advance children’s rights in courts, legislatures, and executive agencies. Our strategies include litigation, appellate advocacy and submission of amicus (friend-of-the-court) briefs, policy reform, public education, training, and strategic communications. We strive to ensure that laws, policies, and practices affecting youth are rooted in research, consistent with children’s unique developmental characteristics, as well as reflective of international human rights values.