Juvenile and Young Adult Issues – Fair and Just Prosecution

Information and Resources

COVID-19 and Youth Justice Issues

No children belong in prison – especially during a pandemic. Conditions were poor in youth correctional facilities prior to the onset of the coronavirus virus, but now young people behind bars face additional trauma, medical risk, and dangerous isolation. While significant progress has been made in reducing the number of children who are incarcerated, far too many children remain locked up. Prosecutors have a mission to promote safe and healthy communities, and that includes protecting children who come into contact with the criminal legal system. Read more about what District Attorneys have done and can do to protect young people in our latest “Issue at a Glance” brief[1].

This is a tremendous waste of human potential… We need to invest in the beginning of this pipeline, as opposed to its end.
– Satana Deberry, Durham County, NC District Attorney

A New Vision for Youth Justice: Ending Extreme Sentences for Children

As the public conversation creates a new vision for public safety, criminal justice leaders have the opportunity to once and for all address one of America’s most shameful practices: the imposition of life-without-parole and decades-long sentences for young people. Key findings of two national polls conducted by Data For Progress indicate that a majority of voters across the political spectrum understand that young people have the capacity to change, and want the justice system to rehabilitate young people, rather than imprison them for life. For more read the report[2] on this recent polling and call for change.

“Fundamentally, we have a system that has believed for a very long time that people are unchanging, that we know how bad you are when you do a bad thing. Well you’re not. Science says…PEOPLE CHANGE.”
– Larry Krasner, Philadelphia District Attorney

FJP Young Adult Justice Brief

Young adults are a distinct developmental group with unique needs and challenges and the period from 18 to 24 is a critical window of opportunity for lasting change that shouldn’t be squandered. This FJP “Issues at a Glance” brief[3] offers models of reform from across the country and recommendations to help prosecutors implement proven, compassionate approaches that give young people the support they need to be productive members of our communities.

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