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Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project (YSRP)1528 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
The Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project (YSRP) is a Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization that provides comprehensive support to kids prosecuted in the adult criminal justice system. We have two goals: 1. Help lawyers with low-income clients get their cases transferred from the adult criminal justice system to the juvenile justice system; and 2. Help connect youth and their families with existing community resources and programs, so they have access to education, healthcare, stable housing and job placement.
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.
The practice of arresting, charging and sentencing youth in the adult criminal justice system is harmful for them, their families and our communities. Being charged in adult court, even if that charge never results in a conviction, means that children spend time in adult prisons and/or jails. Such experiences are traumatizing, exposing youth to physical, sexual and emotional abuse, and creating barriers to success in all areas, including education and employment. Although justice system involvement always produces serious consequences, the repercussions are especially far-reaching for low-income youth of color who are overrepresented in the criminal justice system in Philadelphia. Through deep relationship-building with our client-partners and their families and supporters, we collectively surface issues of concern that stem from their direct contact with the criminal justice system. Through interrogation and research, these issues evolve into policy advocacy that allows for us to challenge the harmful practices that perpetuate mass incarceration. As more juvenile lifers return home to Philadelphia, the community on the outside is organizing to build up the leadership and skills of its members to lead in these advocacy efforts. Collectively, we seek to end the practice of prosecuting youth in the adult criminal justice system. YSRP ultimately aspires to end the practice of prosecuting children as adults in Pennsylvania. In the nearer term, our policy advocacy seeks to diminish the destructive impact that incarceration has on children and families, from as close to their arrest in the adult justice system through their reentry. YSRP’s most immediate policy goal currently is to move the youth out of the adult jails on State Road in Philadelphia.
Youth facing charges in the adult criminal justice system.
Individuals sentenced to life in prison without parole before their 18th birthday.
Families with children or loved ones (under age 18) facing charges in the adult criminal justice system.
Please call 267-703-8046 or email email@example.com
In Philadelphia, and recently with our partners at the Delaware County and Montgomery County public defender offices, YSRP supports low-income children and juvenile lifers who qualify for public defense services by virtue of their poverty, but are provided private (“court appointed”) attorneys due to conflicts of interest with the public defender’s office. YSRP’s case advocacy model is designed to system-level gaps and increase access to critical supports and services so that youth, and individuals sentenced when they were youth, will return home from incarceration with the best chances of success by accessing health and emotional health support and services, stable housing, employment training and meaningful educational and job opportunities.
Lauren Fine, Esq., Co-Director Joanna Visser Adjoian, Esq., Co-Director