Ending Mass IncarcerationBringing Dignity to Life Behind Bars

Young Adults

Advances in neuroscience show that the human brain continues to develop beyond adolescence and may not be fully formed until people reach their mid-20s. The science as well as the reality of young adults’ inexperience and potential for transformation begs for specialized interventions for young people who are no longer kids but not yet mature adults. The need is particularly acute in a criminal justice system flooded with young people who have poor impulse control. 

Vera is working in partnership with the New York City Department of Corrections to guide and evaluate a new facility specifically for 18 to 21-year-olds that could become a model nationally. It features programming to support positive development at this crucial life stage and intensive pre-release planning to smooth the transition home. Notably, it also forbids the use of solitary confinement to punish misbehavior in the facility.

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