Today, the National Collaboration for Youth released Beyond Bars: Keeping Young People Safe at Home and Out of Youth Prisons.
“With the right investments, communities are the best places for our young people to explore their strengths, get the help they need and ultimately thrive,” said Jeff Fleisher, Chair of the National Collaboration for Youth and CEO of Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. “Implementing a vast array of services in the community can keep young people from being arrested while remaining close to their support systems.”
Beyond Bars advocates for communities and systems to close youth prisons by developing a vast array of services and supports that can hold youth accountable in the community while also meeting their needs and building on strengths. It offers a blueprint for systems and communities to establish guiding principles, core services and an organizing tool to shift from a facility-based juvenile justice system to a community-based youth justice system. Some of guiding principles include focusing on need and not slots; building on restoring a sense of relatedness by building on strengths, competency and autonomy; asset mapping communities that are often characterized only by their deficits, and; implementing culturally competent programs. While every community is different, the report also focuses on core services that should comprise the bedrock of any continuum of care, along with key strategies to create a robust array of community support and services for young people in need.
To read the report, executive summary, and to see the video, click here.