Policy Agenda Item 2

Decrease detention and incarceration and minimize arrests, and reinvest savings into community-based resources, alternatives, prevention, and early intervention.

Using punitive measures such as detention and incarceration to address youth misbehavior is in direct conflict with what we know about adolescent brain development. Current research on the developing brain shows that children and adolescents differ from adults in their ability to assess risk, respond to peer influences, and make decisions. Because the brain continues to develop into a person’s mid-20s, youth have a greater ability to change and improve their behavior.

The importance of supporting youth who come into contact with the justice system cannot be overstated. Because young people are still developing, they are capable of learning new behaviors and developing new skills as they grow.

The type of cognitive, emotional, and social support a young person needs for healthy development requires new approaches to address juvenile delinquency.

  • Policymakers can recognize that adolescents’ brains are not fully developed and adopt policies that view a child’s involvement with the justice system as an opportunity for intervention to prevent further delinquent behavior.
  • Parents can model good behavior and teach children how to resolve conflict appropriately.
  • Everyone can get involved in community organizing with Community Organizing and Family Issues

Link to HB2084 bill

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