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Advocates for Children of New JerseyJune 13, 2017     


150 years is enough. It's time to #CloseJamesburg, NJ's largest youth prison.

Show your support for community-based alternatives for youth on June 28th.

On June 28, 1867, New Jersey’s largest youth prison, the New Jersey Training School for Boys, also known as Jamesburg, opened. And exactly 150 years later, on June 28, 2017, ACNJ, as member of the Youth Justice New Jersey Coalition, will rally to say, "150 years is enough." 

Join us at this important event. 

It is time to close Jamesburg and reinvest those funds into a community-based system of care. Members of the Youth Justice New Jersey Coalition are urging New Jersey officials to fundamentally reimagine the state’s youth justice system. Priorities include:

  • developing and strengthening community-based intervention,
  • prevention and diversion
  • alternatives-to-incarceration programming for our youth.

The research supports this change. A new  report, The Future of Youth Justice: A Community-Based Alternative to the Youth Prison Model, documents how conclusively youth prisons have failed at both protecting the community and turning young lives around. The report makes the case for states and localities to adopt a different approach, one that protects public safety and focuses on what works.

The youth prison model should be replaced with a continuum of community-based programs. For those young people who may need to be placed in secure confinement, the environment should reflect “smaller homelike facilities that prioritize age-appropriate rehabilitation.” The report features several states that have moved in this direction, demonstrating that community-based approaches can reduce recidivism, control costs and promote public safety.

One of the authors of this report, Patrick McCarthy, is president and chief executive officer of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The other authors – Miriam Shark, a former associate director at the Foundation, and Vincent Schiraldi, a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, both were once youth correctional administrators.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation published a ground-breaking study in 2011, No Place for Kids: The Case for Reducing Reliance on Juvenile Incarceration, which showed that America’s overreliance on youth incarceration is dangerous, ineffective, obsolete, wasteful and unnecessary, while providing no net benefit to public safety. The Foundation updated those findings four years later in Maltreatment of Youth in U.S. Juvenile Corrections Facilities.

Read more.

For more information, please contact Mary Coogan at ACNJ, mcoogan@acnj.org

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