YASP led all-day workshops with 9th-12th graders at Freire Charter School. Centered around the topic of organizing, the students came up with their own strategies to campaign for movements they care about.
YASP was excited to meet with New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia. We're looking forward to working together to dismantle the school-to-prison-to-deportation pipeline.
In New York, YASP Leadership Team members, Josh and TA participated at the Create Justice conference.
YASP was excited to join Girls Rock Philly and the Girls Rock Camp Alliance for their annual conference April 3rd. A powerful, productive workshop at a beautiful location!
YASP Team members, David, TA, and Josh facilitated 5 powerful workshops at Shoemaker Mastery Charter School. The workshops centered on the power of organizing to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline at its heart: the youth.
"At the age of 16, I got arrested for an aggravated assault charge that I didn’t commit. My bail for the aggravated assault was 2,000 dollars, but because my family was poor they couldn’t afford to pay it. So I sat in jail for 18 months because my family couldn’t afford to pay my bail. The case was eventually dismissed due to lack of evidence...We need to end cash bail and come up with a program that helps formerly incarcerated people get education and employment. Ending cash bail would reduce the prison population and stop ripping families apart."
On Monday, August 1,2016 YASP Leadership Team member Joshua Glenn testified before City Council’s Special Committee on Criminal Justice. He informed the committee about his experience with the criminal justice system, and what it was like being locked up and charged as an adult. He also gave a detailed description about what it was like being held for 18 months on a case that was later dismissed.
Josh's testimony focused on the many flaws of the criminal justice system, and how prosecutors and judges use bail as a tool to make defendants so desperate that they take plea deals. Leadership Team member Romeeka Williams submitted written testimony, which was read aloud.
On July 27th YASP took part in a Youth Action Assembly in collaboration with Philly Urban Creators. Three of our four leadership team members participated, with Terrance (TA) Williams and Romeeka Williams on the panel and Josh Glenn serving as the moderator. The panel addressed the impacts of mass incarceration on young people, especially the impact of locking up and charging juveniles as adults.
The event was covered by HuffPost Politics. Check out their video interview with TA, Reuben, Joanna and Jeaninne from Philly Urban Creators here (skip to 13:30 for their interview).
YASP leadership team members Romeeka Williams, Sarah Morris and Josh Glenn went to Washington, D.C. with City Councilman Curtis Jones and several other organizations to see how D.C. successfully ended cash bail. We were met by Cliff Keenan of the Pretrial Services Agency of D.C., who explained how the system is step up. We talked about how there were people who resisted ending cash bail but who are now accustomed to it after seeing that the judicial system works better this way.
If someone is accused of a nonviolent offense, they see a judge within 24 hours and are released. People accused of a crime of violence are usually held but after 3 to 5 days are released. As a result, there is a jail population of 1700, compared to Philadelphia’s jail population of 7500. Their county jail is only half full right now. The reason for the difference in jail populations is Philadelphia’s use of cash bail. Most people can’t afford to post bail and so are stuck in jail until their trial. The number of D.C. residents with outstanding warrants is also much lower than in Philadelphia, for similar reasons.
D.C. has also developed non-mandatory programs that can help defendants with drug issues and rehabilitation, and offer jobs and drug testing. There are people that review your cases thoroughly and get to know your personally-- our next step towards a fairer judicial system.
On Monday, Nov. 24th, Haverford College invited YASP to do a panel with a class of freshmen students about the criminal justice system and telling them a little more what YASP do. These students were very engaged and interested in what it was actually like being a youth inside an adult facility, how they can get involved with our organization, how we change and become positive and what was it like. They had so many intelligent questions and wanted us to come back to their college again to do some door-knocking up there and to inform more people about Act 33.
On April 25th, YASP went to TAG conference and it turned out wonderful. Our new member David spoke on a panel speaking on their experiences with racism. YASP staff also ran a workshop this year too with our newest member Terrance, telling the people how we connected to YASP, who YASP is and what we do. We also explained why we do this work. They loved us because we are young and educated about these type of situations that we are up against. There was also happiness to see young people talking about our experiences inside of prison as a juvenile in an adult jail. YASP got a lot of support from our audience and we love to have support from everyone.
Check out what YASP has been doing!