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.

Related Work

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

My Old Friends

A T.R.U.E. mentor reflects on how books have shaped his life behind bars

The books would pile up so much that I would send home a banker box full of books every few months to keep within the confines of my property allotment of six cubic feet. My parents dutifully packed them in the storage area of their home, waiting for our reunion. I spent so much time in those books they became my closest friends. Their attention co...

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  • Michael (T.R.U.E. mentor)
June 23, 2017
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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 ...

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  • James Vassar
June 13, 2017
Blog Post

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

Connecticut’s T.R.U.E. Prison Program Offers New Beginnings

First, I knew I would be a good asset to this program. I know right from wrong and I’ve never been in trouble while incarcerated. Since being in prison, I have come to an even better understanding of right from wrong. Second, there are some things I need to work on within myself so I can be a better person for myself and society. For example, I nee...

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  • Jordan and Tarence
May 02, 2017
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Series: Gender and Justice in America

Sexual Assault Awareness is Key to Keeping Girls Out of the Juvenile Justice System

Every April, tribute is paid to survivors of sexual violence through educational and awareness-raising events across the country.  To that end, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) campaign for 2017 seeks to shine a spotlight on leaders who can influence the cultural change needed to end sexual violen...

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  • Shannon Scully
    Shannon Scully
  • Leah  Hairston
    Leah Hairston
April 27, 2017
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Juvenile Justice Systems Still Grappling with Legacy of the “Superpredator” Myth

In the 1990s, sociologists inaccurately predicted that there would be a wave of the dangerous “superpredators”—young people capable of profound violence and different from any we as a nation had seen before, based on the pseudo-scientific idea that there were young people who simply could not be reached, and who would remain unresponsive to even th...

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  • Krista Larson
    Krista Larson
  • Hernan Carvente
    Hernan Carvente
January 24, 2017
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