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.

Related Work

Series: Dispatches from T.R.U.E.

Working Together Toward Community, Connection, and Comradeship in T.R.U.E.

An offender in the T.R.U.E. unit asked me, “Why do you want to participate in this program?”  I explained that I was tired of the revolving door in Corrections and the disruption it causes to the community.  They then asked, “What experiences do you have dealing with this population?” Even though there has never been a unit like this in an ...

Blog Post
  • James Vassar
June 13, 2017
Blog Post

The Impact of Family Visitation on Incarcerated Youth's Behavior and School Performance

Findings from the Families as Partners Project

From February 2010 through March 2013, Vera’s Family Justice Program partnered with the Ohio Department of Youth Services (DYS) on the Families as Partners project. The work sought to promote better outcomes for incarcerated youth by helping staff draw on youth’s families as a source of material and emotional support, encouraging visits and corresp...

  • Sandra Villalobos Agudelo
April 30, 2013

Michael Jacobson Testimony on "Ending the School-to-Prison Pipeline" to U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary Configure

Vera Institute of Justice President and Director Michael Jacobson submitted written testimony to a hearing titled “Ending the School-to-Prison Pipeline,” held on December 12, 2012 by the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, chaired by Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois. Jacobson discusse...

  • Michael Jacobson
December 12, 2012