Tell the Task Force on Juvenile Correctional Centers to Invest in Kids in Their Communities
Members of the Task Force on Juvenile Correctional Centers in Virginia, led by the Secretary of Public Safety, are meeting to decide the future of Virginia's juvenile prison system. They must determine whether to build new prisons, renovate older spaces, or create new models to support youth committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice.
The Task Force needs to hear from the community about what will work best for children and families across the Commonwealth. What we know is that the traditional large juvenile prison model does not work best!
- Virginia's current juvenile prisons costs the Commonwealth over $140,000 to incarcerate one youth for one year.
- Three out of four youth are re-arrested within three years of being released from juvenile prison.
- Youth who remain in juvenile prison for more than 15 months are 44% more likely to be re-arrested within a year after being released.
- Last year, only 28% of youth passed their standardized English test and only 7% passed their standardized math test.
The Task Force will submit an interim report to members of the General Assembly in November 2016 before receiving approximately $40 million dollars to build a new juvenile prison in Chesapeake. They will submit a final report in July 2017 regarding their plans for future facilities. Tell the Task Force that Virginia must think outside the prison box to improve outcomes for kids. Tell them to invest in smaller, group home like settings, that use staffing models conducive to individualized treatment for youth, and keep more youth closer to their communities rather than a new prison.