Smart, Safe, and Fair
The justice system treats youth charged with violent offenses in ways that are unnecessarily expensive, ineffective and unjust. Although the research is clear that many youth convicted of a violent crime are best treated in a community-based setting, our default response to youth violence is still confinement. In Smart, Safe, and Fair, the Justice Policy Institute (JPI) and the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) spoke with members of the victims’ community to further examine the barriers to treating youth involved in violent crime in the community, and to gauge their support for these proposed reforms.
The crime victims we spoke with were consistent in their support for a change from a status quo they see as costly, ineffective, and damaging to youth and their families—all while failing to meet the needs of crime victims themselves. Instead, they expressed a belief that there should be no categorical bar on serving more young people involved in violent crime in the community, particularly because youth engaged in violence are overwhelmingly victims themselves, and should receive appropriate services.
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