Keeping Kids on Track and Giving Them Second Chances
All children should be safe from violent crime; and individuals who are confined should receive the education, training, and treatment needed to have a real second chance.
On the path to adulthood, youth may fall victim to violence or experience an interaction with the juvenile and criminal justice systems that permanently alters their trajectory for the worse. While crime and incarceration rates have generally decreased across the United States in recent years, violence continues to plague many communities and disproportionately affect communities of color. Persons of color disproportionately have contact with law enforcement, are overrepresented
in correctional settings, and face disparate treatment in the juvenile justice system. Our criminal justice data needs to be improved to help us better understand the underlying issues in this realm.
To drive real change in our community, we must seek opportunities to:
- Reduce Violence in High-Risk Communities by Integrating Public Health Approaches
- Reform the Juvenile and Criminal Justice Systems to Keep Youth and Young Adults on Track
- Encourage Law Enforcement and Neighborhoods to Work Together
- Eliminate Unnecessary Barriers to Reentry and Encourage Fair Chance Hiring Options
- Address Possibility of Disproportionate Minority Contact
- Improve Data
- The trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve can be strengthened through deliberate efforts to facilitate racial reconciliation, enhance procedural justice, and reduce implicit bias.
- There is tremendous opportunity for policies and practices to help address the disproportionate contact of overrepresented youth with law enforcement and the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Where contact occurs, policies and practices should be implemented to reduce reliance on confinement and produce better outcomes for those who do enter the system.
- Successful reentry programs are critical to addressing the many needs of and challenges faced by individuals released from prison, jail, or juvenile facilities. Services provided through reentry programs support individuals in making the initial transition back to the community and facilitate the development of skills needed to reduce the likelihood of future criminal activity. Multifaceted reentry and rehabilitation programs address necessities such as housing, medical care, and emergency assistance. These programs also assist individuals in obtaining educational support services, job training, as well as mental health and substance abuse counseling through referrals to community-based service providers. Furthermore, successful reentry programs address workforce development and reduce hiring barriers / collateral consequences that place returning citizens at a disadvantage when searching for viable employment.