Apply Now: Justice Framework for Emerging Adults

Updated August 12, 2022 | Posted July 19, 2022
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Two young adults of color. One in a gray tee shirt and another in a black tanktop and wearing yellow headphones around his neck.

The Emerg­ing Adult Jus­tice Project at Colum­bia University’s Jus­tice Lab has issued a request for inter­est from juris­dic­tions to test and help iter­ate a devel­op­men­tal frame­work — or set of prin­ci­ples — focused specif­i­cal­ly on pos­i­tive out­comes for peo­ple ages 18 to 25 involved in the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem. The oppor­tu­ni­ty is for gov­ern­ment agen­cies and com­mu­ni­ty-based orga­ni­za­tions to work in part­ner­ship with emerg­ing adults (or those who were emerg­ing adults when they them­selves were involved in the jus­tice sys­tem) to deter­mine how best to apply the prin­ci­ples to poli­cies and prac­tices that help this group of peo­ple con­nect with pos­i­tive oppor­tu­ni­ties and peo­ple to fos­ter their development.

Why Focus on Emerg­ing Adults

Nation­al­ly, peo­ple ages 18 to 25 are over-rep­re­sent­ed through­out the crim­i­nal legal sys­tem, have the high­est recidi­vism rates and expe­ri­ence the most extreme racial and eth­nic dis­par­i­ties, par­tic­u­lar­ly in cor­rec­tion­al facil­i­ties. Too often, the jus­tice sys­tem fails to rec­og­nize the devel­op­men­tal needs of this pop­u­la­tion and treats emerg­ing adults in almost the same man­ner as old­er, ful­ly mature adults.

The Foun­da­tion is ded­i­cat­ing at least half of its invest­ments over the next decade to improv­ing the well-being and prospects of youth and young adults to thrive by age 25. That means not sim­ply sur­viv­ing with just enough to get by but hav­ing the chance to live full lives and real­ize their true poten­tial. The Foundation’s Thrive by 25® com­mit­ment rec­og­nizes that the road to adult­hood can be a chal­leng­ing one for many, but emerg­ing adults in the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem, young peo­ple of col­or in low-income fam­i­lies, youth in high-pover­ty com­mu­ni­ties, young par­ents and youth mak­ing the tran­si­tion from fos­ter care to adult­hood face sig­nif­i­cant obsta­cles that can stall their aspi­ra­tions and prospects or derail them entire­ly. These young peo­ple are there­fore the Foundation’s focus — and more impor­tant­ly, part­ners — for its Thrive by 25 efforts to invest in pro­grams and advance poli­cies to help them change the tra­jec­to­ry of their lives and pre­vent life­long problems.

Ben­e­fits for Juris­dic­tions That Participate

The juris­dic­tions test­ing the frame­work will receive guid­ance from experts as the juris­dic­tions apply promis­ing prac­tices. This exper­i­men­ta­tion will put these juris­dic­tions at the fore­front of a bur­geon­ing field, and their input will be incor­po­rat­ed into the final ver­sion of the emerg­ing adult devel­op­men­tal framework.

Giv­en that this is the first attempt at a project of this kind and scope, it is like­ly to be most suc­cess­ful­ly imple­ment­ed in sites that are pre­pared to engage deeply and holis­ti­cal­ly in this type of work,” said Felipe Fran­co, senior fel­low at the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Resources From the Colum­bia Jus­tice Lab

The due date to sub­mit an expres­sion of inter­est is Novem­ber 162022.

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