Elizabeth Calvin Wins Juvenile Law Center Leadership Prize

Big congratulations go to PJDC Board Member Elizabeth Calvin for being selected to receive the Juvenile Law Center’s 2019 Leadership Prize.  The Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center awards the Leadership Prize each year to recognize outstanding individuals working in any field—who are fighting for the rights and well-being of youth in the child welfare and justice systems.

For those of us who work with Elizabeth, this award comes as no surprise.  It is designed to recognize people who “are leading lights whose inspirational careers are beacons for future generations and whose work has substantially improved the lives of youth.”  They “have achieved lasting change either through a lifetime of work on behalf of youth, a landmark contribution to the field of children’s rights, or exceptional efforts to shine a light on the most important issues affecting youth today.” The Prize carries an honorarium of $5,000, and will be presented in Philadelphia in May 2019.

The 2019 awards represent a “sweep” for California, in that the other recipients include nationally recognized but California-based Nicole Pittman of Impact Justice in Oakland, and Jennifer Rodriguez of Youth Law Center, in San Francisco.

The biographical notes for the Prize on Elizabeth focus on her work as the senior advocate in the Children’s Rights Division:

“At Human Rights Watch she focuses on children, youth, and emerging adults in conflict with the law. Her work includes research and writing on human rights violations against children, policy and legal advocacy, and building partnerships with community and national groups. She relies on the leadership of people directly impacted by human rights violations to determine the direction of her work.”

“Since 2012, her leadership of coalition-based efforts in California has resulted in 11 significant laws being passed, many with first-in-the-nation strategies to reduce incarceration and promote the potential of young people. As a result of these changes in law, California youth are less likely to be prosecuted as adults; 14- and 15-year-olds who commit crimes now can never be tried in adult court and must be provided the rehabilitative services available in the youth system; children under 16 facing police interrogation are protected; young adults have increased access to educational opportunities in prison; the use of life in prison without parole sentences for people under age 18 has effectively ended; and young people under age 26 have special opportunities and protections if sentenced to prison. These laws have changed the lives of thousands of young people, families, and communities in California and beyond.”

“She is the author of Human Rights Watch reports on youth sentenced to life without parole, foster care and homelessness, and the effects of prosecuting of children under 16 as adults. She works in partnership with youth activists, faith groups, family members of youth who are incarcerated, survivors of crime, people in prison, and advocates.”

The biographical notes, and those on the work of Nicole Pittman and Jennifer Rodriguez are available on the Juvenile Law Center website.