The United States incarcerates more young people than any other country. Though the U.S. has significantly reduced the amount of incarcerated youths via state reforms from 2001 to 1025 — a 54 percent reduction — 47,000 youths were incarcerated per day in 2015 alone. 69 percent of those incarcerated were people of color, and 73 percent out of that number were taken in for non-violent crimes. In six states, African American youth are at least ten times as likely to be held than white youth.
Putting kids behind bars does little for public safety, disrupts their education, undercuts the necessary support children need, and exposes kids to more trauma and violence. So to try to understand how these young people end up behind bars, VICE on HBO’s Michael K. Williams-hosted Season 6 premiere, “Raised in the System,” will take a look at youth incarceration in America.
What You Can Do:
Get involved and support these orgs who are on the frontlines dealing with youth incarceration and criminal justice reform.
If you’re interested in supporting grassroots solutions for youth criminal justice reform, then look no further than the National Juvenile Justice Network. NJJN fights for state-level policy reform to create a more equitable justice system, especially for people of color.
You can contribute to the NJJN’s work by providing financial support. Also, NJJN encourages people looking to take action to get involved at the federal and local level to change dysfunctional policies.
Advance Peace is a mentorship organization with a mission to end gun violence in urban areas. dedicated to ending gun violence in urban neighborhoods. They work specifically in neighborhoods populated by underserved communities that deal with poverty and high homicide rates. The best way to ensure that Advance Peace continues to aid neighborhoods in need is to make a donation.
The Luis Munoz Marin School for Social Justice isn’t a typical learning environment. Here, the classroom is a a space where students are taught themes of tolerance and nonviolence to create future change-makers. Educators at the school have created a GoFundMe that will support class trips and other initiatives that they otherwise can't afford. A donation to the Luis Munoz Marin School for Social Justice will have a major impact on these students’ lives.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation has pioneered a youth incarceration reduction model to keep young people out of detention centers on the road to success. Their Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) provides training and technical assistance to various JDAI sites for criminal justice advocates to lower the number of detained youth.
Participating JDAI sites have reduced the average daily population in detention by 44 percent, which is the result of giving communities strategies for how to implement juvenile justice reform and providing at-risk youth with opportunities for rehabilitation. Learn how you can create a JDAI site in your community.
"Raised in the System" premieres Friday, April 6 at 7:30 and 11 p.m. EST on HBO.