Help stop the practice of incarcerating 18-20 year old's in adult jails!
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Do you care about young people, public safety, and/or the future of your country? In many European countries for young adults aged 18-20 who are sentenced to time in jail, there are separate or at least different sentencing provisions - similar to those for juveniles. This is based on science that confirms that the part of the brain responsible for rational thinking and mature decision making is not fully developed until our mid 20's; also because conclusive research shows that incarceration is not rehabilitating and increases the chance a person re-offends, and as the John Howard Society of Ontario (2016) asserted: "justice system involvement and incarceration are incredibly damaging experiences that undermine mental health generally" (JHS, 2016, p.6).
Many may respond by returning to the over simplified sentiment "if someone commits crime, they should be punished". This petition is not advocating that young people who commit crimes shouldn't be incarcerated at all, rather, that they have access to the same or similar programming and support that we give to juveniles. Many may still ask why, "why should they get special treatment?" and argue that they are adults. The reality is, they are young adults who are still developing and forming their identity. If we don't change the way we respond to young people in trouble with the law then we just continue to expose them to more developed criminal experiences and criminal influences in adult jails, increase the risk that they will be worse off when they get out, elevate the likelihood that they will re-offend, and all this in turn then, can jeopardize public safety.
Our youth are our future. Part and parcel of being young is making mistakes and learning from them. Research over the past 40 years has indicated that 90% of us have made the mistake of participating in a delinquent act in our youth, its just that most never get caught and outgrow this behavior as we mature. How would you want your 18 or 19 year old son, daughter, brother, or sister to be treated? Better yet, how would you have wanted to be treated? How would you have fared at 18 or 19 - in an adult jail? We have two choices; stay the course and treat these young people as though they are mature adults or, make some changes in an effort to reach them in this sensitive and important stage of development to help them correct the course, and become productive citizens. Our response can be life saving, or it can have devastating impacts.
When I was younger I knew a few guys who landed in jail at these ages and they were never the same, a couple of them ended up deeper into crime, and some ended up dead. Over the past couple years some of my peers have had to watch their young adult son or daughter be all but consumed, transformed, and or, hardened in the harsh environment of adult prison. Please sign this petition so we can show the Canadian government that we are open to changing the way we treat young adults in the criminal justice system. By doing so you can be part of the change toward a more progressive, socially conscious, and socially responsible Canada.
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