Human Rights, Justice Advocate Jennifer Bellamy Is New ACLU Counsel for Criminal Justice

November 6, 2008 12:00 am

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Bellamy to Speak on Juvenile Justice in the New Obama Administration at Georgetown U. Town Hall Today

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WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union today announced that Jennifer Bellamy is the new legislative counsel for criminal justice issues for the Washington Legislative Office in advance of her remarks on juvenile justice in an Obama administration. In Bellamy’s new role, she advocates on behalf of more than 500,000 ACLU members on a broad range of criminal justice issues including juvenile justice and drug policy reform, eliminating racial disparities in law enforcement practices and strengthening privacy protections for personal information such as DNA.

“Jennifer Bellamy brings to her new position an impressive mix of legislative and legal experience that is ideally suited to the ACLU,” said Caroline Frederickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “She has a proven record of working with coalitions on human rights, justice and child protection policies.”

Bellamy speaks today at “A Call to Action for Juvenile Justice,” a town hall meeting sponsored by the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section and hosted by the Georgetown University Law Center Juvenile Justice Clinic. Bellamy plans to tell participants, “It is time to abandon the `tough on crime’ rhetoric in exchange for a crime policy that is ‘smart on crime’ as well as cost effective. We must move youth onto paths toward successful adulthood and avoid the simplistic counter-productive push to put more and more young people into expensive prisons and jails across the country.” In her remarks, she outlines the ACLU’s recommendations on reforming the nation’s juvenile justice system: keeping children out of the criminal justice system; protecting the rights of incarcerated children; and reintegrating children into communities.

Prior to joining the ACLU, Bellamy was policy advisor for World Vision, an international humanitarian organization serving in 100 countries. As policy advisor, Bellamy developed and planned legislative initiatives, partnered with coalitions to advocate for stronger child protection policies, frequently interacting with the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Congress. Bellamy also interviewed former child soldiers and human trafficking victims and met with members of the Rwandan, Kenyan, Ethiopian and Uganda Parliaments and local government leaders in Cambodia and Thailand to discuss strategies to reduce child exploitation.

Before entering the non-profit sector, Bellamy served for three years as counsel to Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, advising him on ethics, criminal justice and constitutional issues. Among other things, Bellamy organized a hearing on the sufficiency of the due process afforded by the National Collegiate Athletic Association to athletes and member organizations under investigation. Prior to working for Congress, Bellamy served as a judicial law clerk for various District Court of Maryland judges in Baltimore City.

Bellamy received her law degree from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University where she was a Stancil Starnes Leadership Scholarship recipient and graduated cum laude from the University of Alabama-Birmingham with a B.A. in History.

For more information on ACLU’s positions on juvenile justice matters go to:

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