Congress, Fund Youth Prison Closures Across the Country

Congress, Fund Youth Prison Closures Across the Country

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Youth First Initiative started this petition to Congress

During his presidential campaign, Joe Biden pledged to invest $100 million to close and repurpose youth prisons. We need for Congress to appropriate the funds to make this a reality. Join us in signing the petition to urge Congress to take action.

The United States has the highest youth incarceration rate in the world, with 37,000 youth confined in facilities away from home on any given day and black youth five times more likely to be incarcerated than their white peers. Many of these facilities are outdated, where youth experience physical, sexual, and psychological abuse. Youth experiences in carceral settings has resulted in high recidivism rates, with studies consistently finding that 70 to 75 percent of youth incarcerated in juvenile correctional facilities get rearrested within two or three years of release.

Unsurprisingly, the damaging experiences in youth prisons often results in a revolving door of justice system involvement.

Over the years, states began to close down youth facilities and youth crime dropped, plummeting by 66 percent nationwide, and as many youth facilities have closed across the country. Specifically, between 2000 and 2018, the number of incarcerated youth decreased by 65%, and the number of juvenile justice facilities fell by 50%.

However, even as youth incarceration drops and states and localities close youth prisons, there are still opportunities and need to close more youth prisons and invest in communities.

States that closed youth prisons reduced costs and re-invested savings in community-based alternatives.  Additionally, community-based alternatives cost much less when compared to youth incarceration. It is evident that community-led, family-focused, youth-centered interventions and services are more effective and cost efficient. It is imperative that we invest in these innovations.

Add your name to let Congress know that you support $100 million to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to provide grants to states who have committed to closing their youth prisons.

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At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!