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

This Women’s History Month, Let’s Leave Girls’ Incarceration in the Past

Last year, Vera took an important step towards addressing these inequities by launching the New York City Task Force on Ending Girls’ Incarceration—with a collaborative of the city’s key juvenile justice and youth-serving agencies—that aims to develop a comprehensive plan to end girls’ incarceration in the five boroughs. Now, we’re committed to doi...

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This Youth Justice Action Month, a Focus on Treating All Kids in the Criminal Justice System as Kids

Over the past 15 years, the number of children locked up each year in the United States has been cut in half.  According to a new analysis from The Pew Charitable Trusts, between 2006 and 2015, the share of adjudicated youth in residential facilities declined from 201 per 100,000 juveniles to 100 per 100,000. Through the efforts of community advoca...

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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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