Momentum Growing For Juvenile Justice Reform

juvenile justice.jpg In communities throughout this great land, kids who get in trouble (especially youth of color), are systematically remanded to court systems that offer little in the way of support and new opportunities. According to new research from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, momentum is buidling for a shift. The Foundation's president, Jonathan Fanton, notes:

“A juvenile justice system that considers each young person as an individual, offers alternatives to incarceration for those who do not pose a threat to society, and emphasizes rehabilitative options is sensible public policy. Taxpayers spend less on prisons, public safety is enhanced, and young lives are redeemed for productive contributions to society.”

MacArthur's new research demonstrates that "...the harsh laws and punitive practices of the 1990s were not cost-effective and failed to protect public safety. For example, research finds that adolescents processed in adult court are 25 percent more likely to be incarcerated and nearly twice as likely to be rearrested for a violent offense as those processed in the juvenile system."

As a result, new approaches have been implemented in Illionis, Louisiana and Pennsylvania. Learn more from the Models for Change website. If you are interested in getting involved, you can also check out MacArthur's juvenile justice grantees working to build the wave.

Susan Herr

Posted at 5:36 AM, Jan 02, 2007 in Youth | Permalink | Comments (1)


Hi Susan,

Thanks for highlighting this very important topic. You readers may be interested in checking out the work of the Haywood Burns Institute
, whose Executive Director, James Bell, wrote the forward to the 'Unequal Justice' section of the New York Times best-seller, The Covenant with Black America.

This agency is having success on the ground across the country with its innovative, data-driven, community organizing strategy. Among the resources you'll find on its website are a state-by-state break down of documenting the over representation of youth of color in the juvenile justice system.



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