Community-Based Responses to Justice-Involved Young Adults
In this paper, we propose a different kind of criminal justice for young men and women. We propose new institutional methods and processes for young adult justice, for those ages 18 to 24, that can meet the realities of life for today’s disadvantaged youth involved in crime and the criminal justice system. What we envision seeks to extend the reach of the juvenile court while also using it as a basis for a new system that reflects a modern understanding of the transition into adulthood. Our central recommendation is that the age of juvenile court jurisdiction be raised to at least 21 years old1 with additional, gradually diminishing protections for young adults up to age 24 or 25.
Such a system recognizes the diminished capacity for responsible decision-making in youth while harnessing the opportunities presented by their ability to grow, adapt and change. Additionally, such a system would recognize the diminished opportunities and greater demands that now face young adults, particularly in the disadvantaged communities that supply the adult correctional system.
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