For far too long the juvenile justice system has incarcerated low-risk youth, increasing their likelihood of reoffense and stripping them away from their families and communities. Diversion is an alternative to incarceration that allows youth to receive support from members of their community in an effort to deter them from overinvolvement in the juvenile system. Despite consistent data that diversion programs reduce recidivism while allowing youth to stay in their communities, many states are not implementing them. Not only does out-of-home placement separate families, but it can also cost hundreds of thousands of tax dollars. If these funds were poured into community-based programs, many states would see a substantial decrease in recidivism rates.
About 60% of youth that enter the juvenile justice system are low-risk for reoffense. Even though 80% of diversions in the state are successful, the state does not effectively utilize these programs. Instead, youth are placed in out-of-community placement where they on average 16 months, costing the state close to $200,000 per youth. Pennsylvania legislators have created a Youth Safety Caucus with the goal of changing this. Click here to learn more.
APJ continues to seek champions for Paid Family Leave and Medicaid in alignment with CPJ's Families Valued initiative. Check back for updates.
What can you do?
APJ has created a sample letter for individuals to send to their representatives, urging them to join the Youth Safety Caucus. Click below to find the letter and find your representative. Call on your legislators to care about these young people!