By Michael Fitzgerald, The Imprint, July 30, 2020
In a sign of the nation’s rapid rethinking of the justice system prompted by protests against racism and police brutality, dozens of elected prosecutors, corrections officials and probation chiefs have called for all youth prisons to be shut down. They described the lockups as “ineffective, inefficient and inhumane.”
The open statement, posted online and announced at a virtual news conference Thursday, goes beyond pushing for “the closure of all youth prisons in the country.” The law enforcement officials also want to see greater reliance on services and support for young people caught up in the justice system. They recommend those who cannot safely remain with family be placed in “small, rehabilitative, home-like facilities.”
The justice officials are also calling on local jurisdictions to halt any new youth prison admissions and to increase releases for those currently locked up during the coronavirus pandemic. No specific timelines were noted Thursday.