America’s longstanding youth prison model, which emphasizes confinement and control, exacerbates youth trauma and inhibits positive growth while failing to address public safety. This report delivers a clear and compelling call to close these youth prisons. It also introduces readers to an alternate model — rooted in a continuum of community-based programs — that aims to set all children on a pathway to success.
Here’s the plan: reduce, reform, replace and reinvest
Findings & Stats
Youth of color experience unjustly high incarceration rates. In New Hampshire, for example, black youth are 36.5 times more likely to be incarcerated than their white peers.
Casey has found clear evidence of recurring or systemic maltreatment of youth in juvenile corrections facilities across the country since 1970.
A Dishonorable Distinction
United States is a global leader in incarcerating youth. America incarcerates youth at more than twice the rate of the next highest incarcerating country.
Statements & Quotations
I recall vividly my first visit to a youth prison many years ago. …The air dripping with pervasive stress, fear, anger and tension and a sense of imminent violence.
– Patrick McCarthy, President and CEO, the Annie E. Casey Foundation
The trauma many of these young people have experienced makes them especially sensitive to environmental triggers, and yet, many are kept in institutional environments that seem designed to trigger trauma and rage: long periods of isolation; harsh, sterile surroundings; bright lights; a constant din; and a near-constant threat of violence.
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