Young people ages 18 to 24 make up 10 percent of the U.S. population but comprise 21 percent of people admitted into adult prison every year. Neuroscience shows that young adults in this age group are still developing in important ways. When mistakes they make lead to prison, we should ensure they are housed safely and that they’re given the tools they need to learn from those mistakes, succeed in life when they return home, and support their communities. 

Vera’s Center on Youth Justice is working to transform the conditions of confinement for young adults.

Starting with the Connecticut Department of Correction (DOC), Vera is developing an approach for transforming the care and custody of incarcerated young adults nationally. The new approach draws on lessons from youth development and juvenile correctional best practices, international examples, and the voices of those directly impacted by the current system: young people who are currently and formerly incarcerated, their families, line staff, and community members. By creating a model designed for young adults, Connecticut DOC can lead the field and ensure that young people leaving their custody are on a path to a bright future. 

Project Objectives

  • Vera is designing a new practice model for incarcerated young adults that prioritizes family engagement, self-expression, peer support, personal growth and development, education, and career readiness. 

  • Vera will support the Connecticut DOC in the implementation of the new model for young adults. 

  • The partnership will enhance the ways in which Connecticut DOC partners with young people, family, and community in the design, implementation, and ongoing operations of the model.