STF Calls for Fair Sentencing for Youth

Photos by Patricia Williams

September 10, 2016: The U.S. has the highest rate of juvenile incarceration in the industrialized world. And California has the highest prison budget in the world, with more than 100,000 people in prison and thousands more in juvenile halls, jails, and youth prisons. California went from #1 nationally in education spending to #1 in prison spending, and as low as #47 in K-12 spending and #51 in funding for higher education.

STF leaders confronted these facts at their annual fall leadership workshop, and were honored to meet with California justice system expert and longtime STF partner, Javier Stauring. Javier urged the students, “Take in the information, but explore justice from the heart.” With the assistance of formerly incarcerated youth, Kent Mendoza, and Maggie and Itzel Bonilla, family members of a murder victim, Javier personalized the juvenile justice system and introduced STF’s Fair Sentencing for Youth campaign.

STF has joined Javier and California human rights activists in supporting Proposition 57, a November ballot measure that demands a new vision for public safety, including the protection of youth from harmful transfers to adult court without a hearing before a juvenile court judge.

STF leaders are returning to their weekly chapter meetings prepared to share more information about bringing justice to the juvenile justice system in California. Leaders conferred on how to raise awareness and gather support for a new vision of justice with Proposition 57.

The STF fall workshop was generously co-hosted by Fullscreen in Playa Vista.

California State Prison Centinela, a male-only, Level IV high security prison in Imperial County. Photo by Getty Images

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