Youth, Families, and Advocates Should Be a Part of the Planning Process for Juvenile Justice Reform

On Sunday, February 21st, the Senate Finance Committee and House Appropriations Committee released their budgets. Both budgets support using savings from the closure of units or whole juvenile correctional centers to funding a continuum of community-based programs and placements for youth in the juvenile justice system. This is great news for kids and communities!

Both budgets also ask that DJJ put a planning process in place to study and make recommendations on the future of secure juvenile correctional centers in Virginia in consultation with several state agencies. The budgets will be amended, discussed, and combined by budget conferees over the next two weeks.

Tell Virginia’s budget conferees to make sure the voices of directly impacted youth and families, as well as, advocates are included in DJJ’s planning process. It’s incredibly important that these voices are a part of planning the future of Virginia’s juvenile justice system.

In addition, tell Virginia’s budget conferees that DJJ should be required to consider best practices from other states including re-purposing centers that will serve 30 youth or less and staffing centers to be therapeutic rather than prison-like.

Virginia’s juvenile justice system can do better and it will be better if we use best practices and make sure those most impacted by the system are a part of reforming it!

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