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
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.