7 Principles to Change the Course of Youth Justice

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Gabrielle Prisco

Our current youth justice system “systematically fails young people, their families, crime victims, and public safety at exorbitant taxpayer cost,” writes Gabrielle Prisco, director of the Correctional Association’s Juvenile Justice Project.

Authored by Prisco for the New York Law School Law Review, When the Cure Makes You Ill: Seven Core Principles to Change the Course of Youth Justice outlines seven principles necessary to transform the youth justice system:

  1. Treating children as children, including raising the age of criminal responsibility.
  2. Funding only what works, including increasing community-based programming, eliminating facilities and programs that harm children, and ensuring that performance data is available to both the public and policymakers.
  3. Ending racial and ethnic inequality through rigorous action at the federal, state, local and community levels.
  4. Equal justice and culturally competent treatment for LGBTQ youth, through the creation of non-discrimination policies, culturally competent programming, training, and on-going evaluation.
  5. Engaging impacted children, families, and communities. Involving these groups in key youth justice decisions results in better outcomes for children, including decreased recidivism rates.
  6. Justice is not for sale outlines some of the harms that result when for-profit corporations administer justice.
  7. Always have strong outside eyes makes clear that no jurisdiction, regardless of the good intentions of its leaders and agencies, should monitor its own system.

The article was originally published in Volume 56, Number 4 of the New York Law School Law Review.

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