Keep Shelby County Youth Out of Adult Jails and Prison!

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Adult jails and prisons are no place for children and youth. Right now, Shelby County’s Juvenile Court Judge transfers youth to adult jails pre-indictment and pre-trial, before they are found guilty of any offense. To protect our young people, we are calling for a moratorium on transferring youth to adult jails in Shelby County. Please sign this petition by Monday, April 16.

Holding youth in adult facilities is unsafe for young people and the public. Nationally, youth held in adult jails are five times more likely to experience abuse, nine times more likely to commit suicide than their peers in the community and within the juvenile justice system, and are at a greater risk of being held in solitary confinement.

Not only is it unsafe for youth, but youth prosecuted as adults are more likely to recidivate in part because they don't have access to services and supports proven to help young people while being held in adult facilities.  According to the Center for Disease Control, youth prosecuted as adults are 34% more likely to recidivate with more violent offenses than similarly situated youth treated as juveniles.

Transfer of youth to adult jails disproportionately impacts black youth. Youth tried as adults are disproportionately Black in Shelby County. In 2012, the US Department of Justice found that while white kids who broke the law were often sent to diversion programs, black kids were more than twice as likely to be treated like adults.

Youth held in adult facilities are put at an increased and unnecessary risk of abuse, solitary confinement, suicide and worse outcomes upon release. Shelby County’s Juvenile Court Judge can mitigate these risks for youth by ending the practice of transferring youth to adult facilities. We also ask the Shelby County Commissioners to take a stand and support a moratorium on the transfer of youth.



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