Virginia CURE has been concerned for many years about the plight of juveniles sentenced to adult prisons. Our organization has supported and will continue to support legislation to prevent transfers of juveniles to adult facilities. We applaud the Washington Post’s Editorial Board in voicing the necessity to scrutinize this policy, and applaud the fine work of the Campaign for Youth Justice in creating this report.
Children, even teenagers, don’t belong in adult jails
By Washington Post Editorial Board, Published: October 15
WHAT DO you do with children suspected or convicted of committing very adult crimes? The answer isn’t easy, particularly when violence is involved. One thing that’s clear, though: Standing policy should not be to warehouse youth in adult jails and prisons, unless there are no other reasonable options. Encouragingly, a new report from the Campaign for Youth Justice finds that, over the past eight years, nearly half the states have changed various laws to discourage shunting minors through the adult criminal justice system when it isn’t necessary.
Research has shown that locking up minors anywhere is rarely a great way to prevent repeat offenses. But when they have to be incarcerated, they need safety, structure and education.