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. YSRP also works to ensure fair and thoughtful resentencing and reentry for individuals sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, also called, “juvenile lifers.”
YSRP was established in 2014 in response to children being tried as adults in the criminal justice system. In Pennsylvania, children as young as 10 years old can be prosecuted as adults. These children can be placed in the same prisons and jails as adults, harming their emotional and mental health, as well as their futures. Children charged as adults are 34% more likely to end up back in the system upon release.
YSRP offers substantial support for these children through four primary goals:
1. Aiding lawyers with low-income clients to get their cases transferred from the adult criminal justice system to the juvenile justice system or to get more favorable sentences; and providing mitigation for juvenile lifers as they face resentencing in front of a judge and/or parole board;
2. Connecting youth, juvenile lifers and their families with existing community resources and programs, so they have access to education, healthcare, stable housing and job placement;
3. Training lawyers, judges and other advocates to increase the level of representation provided to youth facing adult jails and prisons, and juvenile lifers facing resentencing and parole hearings; and
4. Advancing policy reform that is rooted in the experiences of young people, juvenile lifers and their families.
Learn more about the Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project's work.