The National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) recently selected Jasmine Jackson, senior policy specialist at CJI, as a Fellow for the 2020-2021 Youth Justice Leadership Institute (YJLI). She is one of 12 people who make up this year’s prestigious fellowship program.

The YJLI is a yearlong leadership development program for youth justice reform advocates. Each year, NJJN selects a diverse class of advocates and organizers of color to continue their advocacy efforts and bring broad, positive change to juvenile justice systems. Jasmine and the rest of this year’s cohort will gain a deeper knowledge about system structures and trends, learn about effective advocacy and organizing techniques, and work with mentors who are also advancing meaningful system reforms.

“It’s important for me to be a part of a movement of change with like-minded people who look like me. The fellowship gives me the opportunity to partner and learn from a network of professionals who are focused on improving the lives of young people across the United States through various avenues,” said Jasmine. “I’m excited to be a YJLI Fellow because, in addition to growing my network, I can focus on improving outcomes and eliminating disparities of young people of color, sharpen my leadership skills, expand my outlook on advocacy, be challenged by my peers in being a better practitioner, and broaden my reach in amplifying reform work both at CJI and in my community.”

Jasmine’s 10-year career has always been about the juvenile justice system, consistently addressing the needs of youth to decrease recidivism. When she started as a probation officer, she worked mostly with girls in the community and in residential placements and that sparked a passion for working with girls of color.

“I hope to shed more light on the unique needs of girls and engage stakeholders in the gender-specific conversations happening in the juvenile justice world,” Jasmine said.

With that in mind, Jasmine will work on an initiative that recognizes and addresses girls’ diverse needs, which are different than those of boys. She plans to develop a resource guide that helps people who make decisions on behalf of girls better recognize and advocate against the disparate and biased treatment of girls involved in the justice system, especially girls of color. Jasmine intends for the resource to promote positive and sustainable outcomes. More specifically, the resource guide can help someone advocate for improved outcomes for girls through gender- and culturally- responsive strategies that reduce risk factors, prevent over-criminalization, and promote protective factors.

At CJI, Jasmine leads efforts for states implementing system-wide juvenile justice improvement through enacted legislation or strategic planning. (This work is a part of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Juvenile Justice System Improvement initiative.) Before joining CJI, she worked in the areas of court investigation, probation, and reentry at the state level. Jasmine is especially dedicated to improving the lives of young people through direct care, system reform, and community impact.

“We’re so proud and excited about Jasmine’s selection, as her passion for improving outcomes for young people involved in the juvenile justice system, especially youth of color, consistently shines through in all her work. It’s clear her focus is always on finding effective ways of doing what is best for youth,” said Christine Cole, CJI’s executive director. “Jasmine’s work at CJI, and before, clearly demonstrates her dedication to improving the lives of young people and we’re excited to see her continued leadership and impact in the juvenile justice world.”