President Obama Proclaims October as National Youth Justice Awareness Month
On September 30, 2015, President Obama issued a proclamation recognizing October as National Youth Justice Awareness Month. Each year, there are more than 1 million arrests of youth younger than 18, and the vast majority are for nonviolent crimes. Nearly 55,000 individuals younger than 21 are being held in juvenile justice facilities nationwide—a disproportionate number of whom are young people of color, including tribal youth. The proportion of detained and incarcerated girls and young women, who are often victims of abuse, has also increased. This month-long observance is dedicated to preventing youth from entering the juvenile and criminal justice systems and encourages communities to participate in activities and programs that help youth fulfill their greatest potential. The proclamation supports OJJDP’s Smart on Juvenile Justice initiative to promote juvenile justice reform and address racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system.