Strengthening Families and Communities

Supporting Kids and Young Adults

The tough-on-crime mindset that put millions of adults behind bars and plunged communities disproportionately deeper into poverty also produced a generation of punitive juvenile justice policies that hit hardest in those same places. Thankfully, states and localities have rolled back many of the worst policies, and nationwide there’s a clear commitment to rehabilitation when young people are involved. Work that pushes the boundaries of what’s considered an appropriate and effective response to a young person who breaks the law has helped to turn that tide. Some examples:

  • Marshaling evidence that supports raising the age of criminal responsibility nationwide to age 18;
  • Accelerating the trend to handle “status offenders” in the community instead of in courtrooms;
  • Keeping detained youth connected with supportive family members and improving conditions in which kids are held detention in and placement; and
  • Helping to create services that give young people a real chance to succeed in life.

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