Strengthening Families and Communities

Supporting Kids and Young Adults

The tough-on-crime mindset that put millions of adults behind bars and plunged communities disproportionately deeper into poverty also produced a generation of punitive juvenile justice policies that hit hardest in those same places. Thankfully, states and localities have rolled back many of the worst policies, and nationwide there’s a clear commitment to rehabilitation when young people are involved. Work that pushes the boundaries of what’s considered an appropriate and effective response to a young person who breaks the law has helped to turn that tide. Some examples:

  • Marshaling evidence that supports raising the age of criminal responsibility nationwide to age 18;
  • Accelerating the trend to handle “status offenders” in the community instead of in courtrooms;
  • Keeping detained youth connected with supportive family members and improving conditions in which kids are held detention in and placement; and
  • Helping to create services that give young people a real chance to succeed in life.

Related Work

Series: Covid-19

Facebook Post Put High School Student in a Detention Facility Now Struck by Coronavirus

In February 2018, Hernandez, upset about a change in location for her special education program, wrote, “I’m coming tomorrow morning and I’m going to shoot all of ya bitches,” on East High School’s Facebook page. She was charged with making a terroristic threat. She pled guilty to third-degree falsely reporting an incident, a misdemeanor offense, a ...

Blog Post
  • Erica Bryant
    Erica Bryant
April 28, 2020
Blog Post

Cultivating Change

How the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office and the Restoring Promise Initiative Are Transforming Incarceration for Young Men

Traditional criminal justice responses have fallen short on meeting the needs of young adults involved in the justice system. Across the country, policymakers are starting to address the legacy of unbalanced policies and practices that have resulted in the uniquely American phenomenon of 2.2 million people being incarcerated—a legacy that dispropor ...

  • Alex Frank, Matthew Lowen, Kevin Maccioli, Shawn MacMaster, Selma Djokovic
March 05, 2019