Category Archives: Decarceration

Juvenile Law Center

The Juvenile Law Center is the oldest non-profit, public interest law firm for children in the country. The Juvenile Law Center uses an array of legal strategies and legislative advocacy to promote fairness, prevent harm, ensure access to appropriate services, and create opportunities for success for youth in the foster care and juvenile justice systems. Widely published and internationally recognized as thought leaders in the field, the Juvenile Law Center’s impact on the development of law and policy on behalf of children is substantial.

The 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.

They work to protect and advance children’s rights in courts, legislatures, and executive agencies. Their strategies include litigation, appellate advocacy and submission of amicus (friend-of-the-court) briefs, policy reform, public education, training, and strategic communications. They 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.



Contact: (215) 625-0551

Location: Philadelphia Building, 1315 Walnut St # 4, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Decarcerate PA

1262578_692835737423699_567386620_oDecarcerate PA is a coalition of organizations and individuals seeking an end to mass incarceration and the harms it brings our communities. Decarcerate PA seeks mechanisms to build whole, healthy communities and believes that imprisonment exacerbates the problems we face. We therefore demand an immediate and lasting moratorium on all new prisons: no new prisons, no new county or city jails, no prison expansions, no new beds in county jails, no immigrant detention facilities, no private prisons. We also demand changes in policing, sentencing and legislation to reduce the prison population. We believe that public money should instead be spent on quality public schools, jobs and job training, community-based reentry services, health care and food access, drug and alcohol treatment programs, stable housing, restorative forms of justice and non-punitive programs that address the root cause of violence in our communities. Such steps are necessary to secure socially responsible, personally secure, and economically viable communities in our state.


1559696_680593638647909_458968926_nJoin us for a Decacerate PA general meeting at 6pm on the fourth monday of every month at the Friends Center in the Martin Luther King room.  The Friends Center is located at 1501 Cherry Street. The general meeting is a great place to learn how to get involved with the campaign, hear about upcoming events, and learn what the different committees are up to.

Phone: 267-217-DEPA
                  267 217-3372

Youth and Art Self-Empowerment Project (YASP)

The number of teenagers under the age of 18 who are held in adult jails and prisons in Pennsylvania has increased drastically over the last fifteen years.  The Youth Art & Self-Empowerment Project (YASP) is building a youth-led movement to stop this trend by ending the practice of automatically trying and incarcerating young people as adults.  Through its work in the Philadelphia jails, YASP provides space for incarcerated young people to express themselves creatively and to develop as leaders both within and beyond the prison walls.  Young people who have been through the adult court system are at the forefront of YASP, leading the movement to keep teenagers out of adult prisons and to create new possibilities for youth around the city.

What We Do

YASP conducts art, poetry, music, and empowerment workshops at the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center (P.I.C.C.) and Riverside Correctional Facility (R.F.C.) every Saturday with young people under 18 who are being tried as adults. We also show our documentary and do leadership building workshops at schools and colleges to teach youth about the flaws of the criminal justice system and how to avoid a a life of crime.

YASP’s work with young people continues even after their time in the adult prison system. On Thursdays, YASP has “open hours” from 4:00pm-7:00pm to provide these teens help with finding employment, writing resumés and cover letters, continuing education, homework, college applications, etc.

YASP participates in rallies and demonstrations, and conducts door knocking campaigns for our petition to repeal or amend Act 33, the law that allows youth to be automatically charged as adults in PA.
Contact: 267-571-YASP,
Location: 2231 North Broad St., Suite 200, Philadelphia, PA 19132
 *This site is accessible via public transportation from the Bryn Mawr campus.