The Juvenile Rights Advocacy Project (JRAP) is based at Boston College Law School and is staffed by a director, supervising attorneys, and second/third year law students. The JRAP represents youth (with a focus on girls) who are in the delinquency system, comprehensively across systems, and until they reach majority. JRAP representation uses the legal system to access social and community services and hold systems accountable, reducing the use of incarceration and supporting girls in their communities. In addition to individual representation, the JRAP is involved in ongoing research and policy advocacy aimed at reducing incarceration and supporting youth in their communities. Within its policy agenda, the JRAP seeks to develop and model programs for delinquent youth that provide access for youth to a range of social services and promote collaboration across systems. To advance our mission, the JRAP has been:
- Documenting the plight of girls in the justice system, locally and nationally, through qualitative research, and communicating girls' stories through their art.
- Advocating for just policies for girls and empowering them to advocate for themselves;
- Representing young women across different systems regarding various legal issues: JRAP clients are involved in multiple systems and representation, designed to empower them and give them voice, continues until a girl turns 18, or ages out of the juvenile justice system.
- Piloting gender-responsive programming, such as the Girls Health Passport Project and H.U.M.A.N., which like all JRAP's model programs, are designed so that the lessons learned can be exported to the field and the model can be replicated in other local and national communities.
"When they heard they were the same on the inside, they just had to see for themselves. It's not what they're doing, it's what they're becoming. That's kind of true. People try to judge you on the outside. So I had me and my friend and I was hanging on something because it was kind of like pulling me up. And I had a butterfly because sometimes I would like to fly away. That's how much stress I had."
P., age 15