Justice lab study: how to move from punitive, large, remote youth detention centres

Moving Beyond Youth Prisons: Lessons from New York City’s Implementation of Close to Home (2019) Columbia University Justice Lab, Weissman, Ananthakrishnan, Schiraldi.

Wind back the clock to the mid-1990s where New York’s prison system shipped off about 3,800 young people every year to large, far off prison facilities where they were disconnected from family, friends and community.

However, now there are just a small number of young people who are placed in smaller, more home-like residential settings.

low section of man against sky
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

How did this youth justice transformation happen?

This case study published by Columbia Justice Lab examines the reforms and changes at both the state and city level that brought about the transformation.

The study offers a roadmap for other jurisdictions to follow.

Some key points include:

  • use a crisis as an opportunity for change.
  • make the cost and current state of youth prisons visible to key political leaders.
  • include the voices of young people with lived experience of system in advocacy for change.

You can downoad the PDF of the Justice Lab case study here and follow the discussion on Twitter with the hashtag #BeyondYouthPrisons.

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