Prison is Not a Rite of Passage
Prison Fellowship works to restore the youth justice system so that communities are safer, victims are respected, and youth who have made poor decisions are enabled to become law-abiding and self-sufficient adults.
There are differences between youth and adults, and our justice system should take these differences into account. Although typically less mature and less developed, youth have a greater capacity to grow and change than adults.
Young people who break the law need to be held accountable, repair any harm they've caused, and secure assistance to confront the problems underlying their behavior.
But they don't belong in prisons with adults.
YOUTH JUSTICE STATISTICS
46% of youth are physically assaulted by an adult prisoner
Youth in adult prisons are 30x more likely to commit suicide
Youth released from adult prisons are 77% more likely to commit a violent felony
OVERVIEW OF THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM
Download this handout for an overview of the history juvenile justice in the United States.
JUVENILE JUSTICE TRENDS
In 2015, the arrest rate of America's youth (ages 10-17) amounted to 2,751 per every 100,000. Many juvenile intake and arrests are based on acts that would not be criminal for adults, such as status offenses or truancy charges.
Many of these referrals are due to zero-tolerance policies set by school boards and state legislatures. They address behaviors that otherwise would be handled by parents and school administrators.
Six states automatically try youth under the age of 18 as adults, regardless of how minor the crime: Georgia, Missouri, Michigan, North Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin.
JUVENILE JUSTICE TRENDS
Download this handout for an overview of juvenile justice issues in the United States.
JUVENILE JUSTICE REFORM IN VIRGINIA WHITEPAPER
Faced with an unwieldy correctional system and over-extended budgets, legislators nationwide are taking a renewed look at criminal justice reform. By considering the value of community, faith, and family centered options, conservatives in the Commonwealth of Virginia have a unique opportunity to take the lead in becoming smart on crime. In particular, we have a distinctive opportunity to intervene in the case of America’s impressionable youths and prevent damage that comes from choosing the wrong methods of intervention.