This Election Day, a Victim’s Rights Amendment Could Impact Pennsylvania’s Juvenile Justice System

Marcia Hopkins, The Chronicle of Social Change •

Tuesday’s election offers us many opportunities to make change — from candidates to resolutions. One of most importance to me personally and professionally is Pennsylvania’s ballot referendum on Marsy’s Law, a proposed Constitutional amendment that would “grant certain rights to crime victims, including being treated with fairness, respect and dignity.”

Who would — or could — argue with this? There is nothing many of us want more. Unfortunately, as currently written Marsy’s Law may inadvertently harm children in the juvenile justice system — and in some cases, it may make things more difficult for victims too.

About the Expert

Hopkins facilitates Juvenile Law Center’s Youth Advocacy Program: Youth Fostering Change, Juveniles for Justice, and the Youth Speakers Bureau. She also works closely with our attorneys on various policy-focused projects related to foster youth and transition-aged youth.