Founded in 1975, Juvenile Law Center (JLC) is the first nonprofit, public interest law firm for children in the US. It partnered with researchers to bring adolescent brain science into the national reform movement, which resulted in several pivotal and landmark US Supreme Court rulings that abolished the death penalty and mandatory life without parole sentences for juveniles. JLC uses impact litigation, appellate advocacy and amicus (friend of the court) briefs, policy reform, education and training, professional consulting, youth advocacy programming and strategic communications to drive state and federal justice and child welfare reforms benefiting thousands of children and youth around the country. This grant provides general operating support to JLC in its mission to fight for rights, dignity, equity and opportunity for youth and to reduce the harm of the child welfare and justice systems so all young people can thrive.
Juvenile Life Without Parole Advocacy Project
To support advocacy and litigation that builds on recent success in limiting juvenile life without parole sentences. This grant enables the JLC to frame legal arguments for the field that will support new Eighth Amendment challenges to life without parole or extremely long sentences in felony murder and murder cases and transfers to the adult criminal system. JLC seeks to ensure that the criminal justice system is aligned with principles of adolescent development, honors human rights, and gives youth access to education, physical and behavioral health care and other supports they need to become productive adults.
Juvenile Sentencing Reform Project
To provide legal representation of inmates sentenced to life without parole for crimes committed as juveniles at their resentencing hearings as a result of recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions and to train and provide technical assistance to the national criminal defense bar to represent these lifers and any new juvenile life without parole cases. JLC is working with national advocacy partners to fight against state legislative action to impose long (virtual life) sentences on juveniles after the court banned mandatory life without parole and to advance a criminal justice system in which lawyers understand adolescent development and mitigating factors in life without parole cases and the judiciary understands how teens are different and sentence accordingly. This grant also supports efforts to create a common communications strategy around the life without parole issue.