New Report Examines Youth Incarcerated in Adult Jails
Released August 28, 2018
John Chibnall, Powell Communications
212 475 6301 | firstname.lastname@example.org
New York’s Raise the Age Law Will End the Practice of Placing Sentenced or Detained Adolescents in Adult Facilities
New York, New York August 28, 2018
With adult jails housing an increasing number of state prisoners, and the population within juvenile detention facilities shrinking, now is the time to reassess the way youth prosecuted as adults are incarcerated in America. Full implementation of New York’s Raise the Age Law ends the practice in New York and is recognized as a significant strategy for protecting youth, according to a new report from UCLA School of Law.
“Getting to Zero: A 50 State Study of Strategies to Remove Youth from Adult Jails,” analyzes national data sets and state laws to provide concrete policy change recommendations to remove youth from adult jails across the country.
“Our children do not belong in adult facilities. Youth face heightened risk of physical and sexual abuse, as well as mental health crisis, including suicide, when housed with adults. The Campaign is proud to have New York’s law part of the Getting to Zero report, and to contribute to the nation-wide effort to remove all adolescents from adult jails and prisons.” Naomi Post, Executive Director of Children’s Defense Fund-New York.
“New York is on the precipice of ensuring no youth will ever be placed in an adult jail or prison again. On October 1st, this practice will finally end and in New York City all youth will be removed from adult jails. This is an historic victory for New York’s youth, and their families and communities, and I am so relieved it is finally coming to fruition,” said Jennifer March, Executive Director of Citizens’ Committee for Children.
“Behind the chilling statistics cited in this report are young people who experienced unimaginable suffering within the walls of an adult jail as well as families who suffered from outside them. As parents, we have witnessed first-hand the detrimental impact that adult jails have had on our youth. Through these experiences, we know that the pathway to productive citizenship is through appropriate services, engagement and supports. We applaud the authors for building a compelling case for why “Getting to Zero” is so important and offering a road map for how we get there.” Paige Pierce, Chief Executive Officer, Families Together in New York State.
“Trauma begets trauma and jail begets more jail when it comes to our children housed in adult facilities. Getting to Zero sets forth a realistic agenda of next steps for states across our nation.” David Condliffe, Executive Director of the Center for Community Alternatives.
An overwhelming amount of research shows that the adult criminal justice system is ill-equipped to meet the needs of youth, from trial to incarceration and re-entry. Beyond what brain science reveals about adolescent development, the adult criminal justice system does not reduce recidivism and often leaves youth at risk of abuse.
Although the number of youth in adult jails has declined over 50 percent since a recent peak in 2010, between 32,000 and 60,000 youth are estimated to enter adult jails every year.
Getting to Zero provides the first-ever analysis of three nationwide datasets – the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ (BJS) Census of Jails and Annual Survey of Jails, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Census of Juvenile Residential Placements – to examine how youth currently housed in adult jails can be safely housed in juvenile facilities. Second, it summarizes the major legal developments applicable to youth housed in adult jails. Third, it provides specific examples from jurisdictions across the country which have made substantial progress toward removing youth from adult jails, including New York.
Neelum Arya, study author explains, “For the first time we have data to show exactly where youth are incarcerated in adult jails in America, the legal analysis to explain why it happens, and examples of what policymakers can do to remove youth from jails altogether.”
Key Facts from New York
Getting to Zero also provides an overview of positive changes that have taken place and identifies specific strategies states can use to remove youth from adult jails. Since 2009, 20 States and the District of Columbia have passed laws which have started to limit the admissions to, or remove youth from, adult jails.
The report provides recommendations for policymakers at the federal, state, and local level; jailors and juvenile detention administrators; prosecutors and public defenders; and advocates all have a role to play to assist in Getting to Zero.
For additional information about the Getting to Zero report, please visit: www.GettingToZero.us
The Raise the Age NY Campaign includes over one hundred diverse organizations from across New York State, including formerly incarcerated youth and their families, child advocates, service providers, faith leaders, legal services groups, and unions. Our work draws both on the lessons learned in 48 other states and the wealth of scientific research on adolescent and brain development.
For additional information about Raise the Age NY, visit: http://raisetheageny.com/about-us