Summer 2024 Resource Library Updates

The Gault Center has been regularly updating our Resource Library, where you will find up-to-date youth defense resources to enhance your practice and advocacy. In this post are some notable publications from the past few months that may be of interest to youth defense advocates.

Please contact us if there are any resources you’d like us to add to our Resource Library. We hope these resources strengthen your efforts to defend young people. As always, thank you for all you do to protect the rights of youth.  

From the Gault Center:  

A Tale of Two Systems: An Assessment of Access to & Quality of Youth Defense Counsel in Utah  

The Utah assessment is the 29th statewide assessment of youth defense delivery systems the Gault Center has conducted. These assessments gather information and data about the structure and funding of defense systems and examine whether youth receive counsel at all critical stages, the timing of appointments, waiver of counsel, youth defense resource allocation, supervision and training, and access to investigators, experts, social workers, and support staff. Some of the key findings of the Utah assessment include: Utah has recently enacted several legislative reforms that have greatly improved youth access to counsel throughout the juvenile court process; Utah’s Indigent Defense Commission is beginning to build a foundation for the state’s youth defense delivery system by establishing standards, contracting with managing defenders, and supporting appellate practice; and despite the state’s recent reforms, Utah’s county-based contract system for youth defense continues to limit access to justice for young people. Among other recommendations, this report encourages Utah to establish a strong statewide system for delivery of youth defense services, ensure the independence of youth defenders, and commit to combatting racial disparities.  

National Youth Defense System Standards User Guide  

This User Guide provides advocates with a step-by-step outline of how to actualize the vision of the National Youth Defense System Standards to equip and invest in youth defense teams to fight for the liberation of all youth. The User Guide outlines constitutional rights detailed in the System Standards, provides a checklist to assess the presence of a constitutional violation, and offers ideas on how and when to raise constitutional issues throughout various stages of a juvenile legal proceeding. These litigation strategies are intended to provide examples of how youth defenders can assert and strengthen the constitutional rights of young people, thereby mobilizing the power of a collective voice of youth defenders demanding constitutional rigor across the country to create opportunities for transformative change. A compilation of checklists from the User Guide is also available: A Checklist to Assess the Presence of a Constitutional Violation Under 34 U.S.C. 12601.  

From the Field:  

The Anti-Racist Imperative of Infancy  

This article calls for the categorical exclusion of young children from juvenile court jurisdiction as a pathway toward the abolition of the juvenile legal system in its current form. This article highlights the landscape of age-based jurisdictional boundaries across the country: 24 states have no minimum age of arrest and prosecution, while 18 states have set a minimum jurisdictional boundary of ten years old. As a result, in 2019, more than 15 percent of incarcerated youth were under the age of 14. This article explores the racialized history of juvenile courts and the current drivers of racial inequities in the system against the backdrop of developmental science to conclude that the categorical exclusion of youth under the age of 14 is a necessary and incremental step to shrink the reach and harm of the juvenile legal system.  

Strengthening Indigenous Communities to Eliminate Disparities in the Criminal Justice System Infographic 

This infographic details statistics on the overrepresentation of Native and Indigenous communities in the criminal legal system, noting in particular that the incarceration rate of American Indian/Alaska Native communities increased 60 percent from 1990 to 2020. It cautions that current data collection practices on Native and Indigenous communities are often incomplete and inaccurate due to misclassifications, highlighting limitations in the data. In addition, this infographic provides a chronological summary of the historical trauma and its enduring effects on Native and Indigenous communities, starting with the arrival of colonial settlers in the early 1800s to the forced assimilation that continues today. Lastly, this infographic offers a sampling of various Native-led programs that focus on holistic wellbeing, balance, and harmony as examples of alternatives to carceral systems. Though this resource focuses on the criminal legal system, it provides important historical and cultural context to defend Native and Indigenous youth in juvenile court. 

Please contact us if there are any resources you’d like us to add to our Resource Library.   

We hope these resources strengthen your efforts to defend young people. As always, thank you for all you do to protect the rights of youth.  

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