Policy Advocacy

The Colorado Juvenile Defender Center is engaged in policy and legislative reforms to bring balance back to Colorado’s juvenile justice system and improve outcomes for children, youth, and families.

CJDC is a member of the National Juvenile Justice Network, which supports the work of state based advocacy groups.

CJDC outlined the following priorities for juvenile justice reform:

  1. Ensuring the implementation of direct file reforms for youth prosecuted in adult court;
  2. Reviewing the evaluation of the Youthful Offender System, a prison for youth in the adult corrections system;
  3. Protecting the right to counsel for all children and youth accused of crimes and guarding against uninformed waivers of counsel;
  4. Reducing the use of secure and staff-secure commitment facilities and secure detention facilities to keep more children at home with community based services and mental health care;
  5. Eliminating the practice of shackling children in juvenile court without an individualized showing of necessity;
  6. Reducing disproportionate minority contact and confinement;
  7. Reforming the treatment, classification, and registration of children accused of sex offenses; and
  8. Eliminating zero tolerance policies and the criminalization of students.