Youth prisons hurt kids and break up families. The experience for a child entering a youth prison is similar to the experience of entering an adult prison. Too often, these facilities perpetuate the most abusive elements of adult incarceration: solitary confinement, physical abuse, and sexual abuse. The juvenile justice system is highly racialized and through discriminatory practices and unjust sentencing, it broadens the gap of racial inequity in harmful ways that traumatizes poor, black and brown communities.
In states with younger juvenile jurisdiction, including New York and North Carolina, many kids are incarcerated in adult prisons. The practice of incarcerating kids is archaic, ineffective, and not cost effective. Still most states spend a significant portion of their Juvenile Justice funding on youth prisons, with an estimated annual cost of over 5 billion a year. There are alternatives, and studies show that when young people involved in the juvenile justice system avoid incarceration and engage in alternatives [including but not limited to home confinement, treatment, therapy, and youth centric intensive supervision programs,] the rate of conviction and rearrest is dramatically reduced.
- Reducing/Eliminating youth incarceration
- Educating the public and leaders about the social emotional development
- Alternatives to incarceration
- Lift up community examples of alternative models to youth incarceration
- Closing Youth Prisons