On June 28, 1867 Jamesburg, New Jersey’s largest youth prison, opened.
On June 28, 2017, I invite you to join us as we say: 150 years is enough!
Please join us at our youth prison closure campaign launch next month, on June 28th at noon, in front of Jamesburg.
With this campaign, we are lifting our collective voices to transform New Jersey’s youth incarceration system into a community-based system of care by closing Hayes and Jamesburg—the state’s girls’ youth prison and the largest youth prison for boys, respectively.
Incredibly, two-third of kids incarcerated in New Jersey’s youth prisons are Black, even though Black and white youth commit similar offenses at similar rates.
By contrast, there are fewer than 15 white kids incarcerated in the state. This gives New Jersey the 3rd-highest Black/white youth incarceration disparity rate in the nation.
Not only is our current youth incarceration system plagued by these unacceptable racial disparities, but it is also extraordinarily expensive (costing more than $200,000 per year to incarcerate each child), hinders our young people’s development, and does not advance public safety.
The campaign will urge New Jersey to fundamentally reimagine its youth justice system by reinvesting funds from closing Jamesburg and Hayes youth prisons into developing and strengthening community-based intervention, prevention, diversion, and alternatives-to-incarceration programming for our youth.
For those young people who may need to be placed in secure confinement for public safety reasons, we know these facilities should be small, developmentally-appropriate, treatment-centered, and provide wrap-around services that are close to home and familial support—not far away youth prisons.
In this moment, change will come, as it always has, from the ground up in our communities.
I am hopeful that you can join us. Please RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Onward to justice!
Ryan P. Haygood, Esq.
President & Chief Executive Officer
New Jersey Institute for Social Justice (NJISJ)
60 Park Place, Suite 511
Newark, New Jersey 07102-5504
973.624.9400, ext. 23