Prioritize significant and meaningful reform to Pennsylvania’s youth justice systems now!

Young people in Pennsylvania are incarcerated too often, for too long, and without consideration or investment in alternatives. Right now, we are witnessing a crisis of overcrowding in detention facilities across the state. However, this situation is not due to a lack of beds or facilities for youth. The true crisis is that Pennsylvania incarcerates far too many children in the first place.

We know that youth incarceration does not improve community safety - in fact, it often leads to higher levels of recidivism and more trauma for young people even after they return to their communities.

In 2021, the bi-partisan Pennsylvania Juvenile Justice Task Force made 35 recommendations. What happened to those recommendations? Effectively, nothing. Our youth need and deserve leadership from the new administration to move forward the work of the Task Force by prioritizing both legislative and administrative reforms like a reinvestment of funds currently spent on incarceration into effective alternatives in the community, holistic support for young people, children being treated as children, and accountability and transparency for system actors to ensure they are living up to their promises.

Tell Governor-Elect Shapiro and Lt. Governor-Elect Davis they must prioritize significant and meaningful reform to Pennsylvania’s youth justice systems in their upcoming term. Our youth need Care, Not Control!

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