CJDC is Open and Fighting for Colorado Youth
Together, with our community partners, and even in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic, CJDC remains committed to justice for all young people in Colorado. As we continue to monitor Coronavirus developments closely, the health and well-being of our colleagues and the youth we serve is of equal importance to us. We continue to see an unjust impact on our most vulnerable clients and youth. Now, as much as ever, there is a heightened need for specialized juvenile advocacy in Colorado.
CJDC is committed to our clients and youth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although our physical office is closed, both of our direct client service programs are still in full operation using remote capabilities. If you are in need of education-related representation, expungement, or deregistration services, please contact CJDC at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303-435-7232 so we can connect you with our Program Directors. Click here to learn about CJDC’s legal services.
DYS Resources and Stakeholder Guide
In response to renewed requests on DYS efforts and steps to release kids from custody, DYS has published a DYS Stakeholder Information Guide and it is updated regularly. Please visit this document to find out information about specific facilities including testing of youth in each facility, the number of youth in each facility and updates on relevant Executive Orders. Also, you can now access the specific pandemic plans for each facility.
If you have a youth in a DYS facility experiencing trauma or being denied access to family or services, please report it to the Colorado Ombudsman’s Office.
Click here for additional DYS Resources, that are not COVID-19 related.
Release Kids from Custody: CJDC Joins Community Stakeholders to Put Pressure on DYS to Release Kids from Detention and Custody:
The health of incarcerated Colorado youth is of paramount concern as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Colorado. On March 19, 2020, CJDC joined community partners and the ACLU in calling on Governor Jared Polis and juvenile justice officials to take action and protect incarcerated children by releasing vulnerable youth and reducing the total number of youth in the Division of Youth Services (DYS) custody. The recommendations urged officials that oversee juvenile court processes, juvenile probation, and the incarceration of juveniles in detention facilities prior to trial and commitment facilities post-adjudication to:
- Immediately and safely decrease the number of youth currently held in DYS facilities;
- Immediately and safely stop sending youth to these facilities, or dramatically decrease the number of new youth being sent to DYS facilities;
- Decrease in-person appearances in court and for probation appointments and activities;
- Provide video visitation for families and professionals to ensure youth in custody have support and access to necessary legal and other services;
- Create a written, and public, plan for how DYS will provide adequate care to youth in secure facilities in the event of an outbreak and increase medical resources, including staff and equipment, as necessary to execute this plan.
On March 27, 2020, we joined our community partners and renewed our request that children be released from custody immediately in response to the current health crisis. As of March 27, only ten committed youth had been released since the health crisis began.
CJDC, Community Partners, and Colorado Lawmakers Request Governor Polis Suspend Fees and Fines During the COVID-19 Pandemic:
On April 6, 2020, a coalition of criminal justice leaders partnered with Colorado House Representatives Leslie Herod and Mike Weissman and state Senators Pete Lee and Julie Gonzales, asking Governor Jared Polis to minimize economic harm for people in the criminal justice system. We called for the immediate suspension of criminal and juvenile fees, fines, and costs because of the COVID-19 crisis.
“We applaud Representative Leslie Herod’s leadership and join her call for an immediate moratorium on criminal and juvenile fees, fines, and costs. During this public health and economic emergency, Colorado families should be able to use their resources to keep the lights on, feed their children, and get medical care, not worry about paying down court debt,” said Ann Roan, a CJDC board member, in the Pagosa Springs Daily Post.