Rebecca Young’s focus on prisoners’ rights led her to create programs to improve the juvenile justice system and monitor and report prisoner abuse. Young’s interest in prisoners’ rights was sparked by a made-for-television movie about death row inmate Caryl Chessman, which she saw in her early teens. After volunteering in prisons throughout college at Harvard, Young became the first executive director of Citizens for Juvenile Justice, an organization that works to improve the juvenile justice system to benefit children, their families, and the community. Her work with CJJ spurred Young to pursue a law degree at Boston College and a postgraduate fellowship designing and implementing the Rapid Response to Brutality Project, which aims to deter prisoner abuse by correctional staff through monitoring brutality, documenting reported assaults quickly, and doing follow-up advocacy to help prisoners get medical treatment. In 2003 Young opened her own law office, where she defends indigent clients against unwarranted guardianship and forced drugging with antipsychotic medications. From 2020 to 2021 she attended The Life Coach School and subsequently opened her own practice, Rebecca Young Coaching, LLC.
Rebecca Young was honored at the 2002 Women Who Dared event in Boston.