“A young man stands before you to show that we don’t have time for hopelessness

So join in — the more soldiers the more powerful the army

The greater the Movement!”

Malik Jordan, age 17, Teens with a Purpose – The Youth Movement Norfolk, VA

Alternatives to Incarceration

The Youth Justice New Jersey Coalition advocates for the following policy proposals to transform our juvenile justice system into a system of care:

Policy Proposal #1: Close large youth prisons and reinvest the cost-savings from facility closures into evidence-based intervention, prevention, diversion, and other alternative programs.

Policy Proposal #2: When out-of-home placement is necessary, youth should be held in small, community-based, therapeutic residential programs and transitioned back to their homes at the earliest appropriate time.

Policy Proposal #3: Reform the juvenile sentencing and parole scheme to ensure that youth are not serving extraordinarily long sentences (often mirroring the same terms imposed on adults) or incarcerated for technical probation violations or other low-level offenses.

                                                                                                                  

Crime Hurts: Justice Should Heal — Youth participating in the national Day of Empathy (2017, Newark, NJ.)

School-to-Prison Pipeline

The Youth Justice New Jersey Coalition advocates for the following policy proposals to end the school-to-prison pipeline:

Policy Proposal #4: Prioritize and invest in comprehensive services tailored to address the individual therapeutic needs of youth without relying on law enforcement for school disciplinary issues.

Policy Proposal #5: Provide school district staff with appropriate training about trauma-informed care, the appropriate use of individualized education plans (IEPs), restorative justice, intensive social services, and other practices designed to improve the effectiveness of schools’ approach to conflict resolution and disciplinary issues.

Policy Proposal #6: Build partnerships among the state, local school districts, local law enforcement, and government officials to strengthen and promote diversion programs, such as stationhouse adjustments, to make sure students do not enter the system at all.

Conditions of Confinement

The Youth Justice New Jersey Coalition advocates for the following proposals to ensure that every youth who is incarcerated is treated with dignity, compassion, and respect, and supported as they prepare to reenter their communities:

Policy Proposal #7: Provide ongoing access to counsel for all youth in any form of out-of-home placement.

Policy Proposal #8: Require all facilities that house juvenile offenders (whether they are charged as children or adults) to collect and regularly publish aggregated, de-identified data on incidents of violence, suicides and suicide attempts, hospitalizations, and other leading indicators of risk.

Policy Proposal #9: Ensure quality and availability of medical and mental health treatment; educational services appropriate for incarcerated youth, including those with special education needs; rehabilitative services, such as substance abuse programming; and transition services, such as job training and college planning and placement.

Policy Proposal #10: Encourage and support persistent and frequent family contact for incarcerated youth and give parents and family members accurate, understandable, and complete information necessary to make informed decisions and choices about the supervision and rehabilitation of their children and the services and support they receive.