Tenet 6: Keep Youth Out of Adult Courts, Jails and Prisons
Youth do not belong in the adult criminal justice system. Transferring youth to adult jails and prisons has proven to be highly ineffective and dangerous – for young people and communities. Youth confined as adults are at the greatest risk of physical and sexual victimization, solitary confinement and suicide.[i] Adult probation and prisons do not offer developmentally appropriate services and youth who leave prison are more likely to reoffend, and reoffend more violently, than their counterparts served in the juvenile system.[ii] Likewise, criminal records and registries can create lifelong barriers to education, employment, housing, military service and public benefits.[iii] Many states are reversing harsh transfer policies, but it should be a national standard that youth under 18 – or even older – are never tried as adults or placed in adult jails and prisons and that sentencing laws always account for developmental differences.