Zeroing Out Youth Prisons: Lessons for Adult Justice Reform

Vincent Schiraldi
June 17, 2020

The Square One Project releases a new paper from Vincent Schiraldi, co-founder of the Columbia University Justice Lab, titled “Can we eliminate the youth prison? (And what should we place it with?).” The paper discusses the need to eradicate the use of youth carceral facilities.

Read the full report here.

Since the turn of the 21st century, youth and adult crime rates in the United States have plummeted. While youth incarceration declined in turn, adult incarceration increased. This paper describes the scope and scale of youth decarceral efforts in the last twenty years and the increasing costs of youth incarceration in remote, large facilities. The author offers alternatives to youth institutionalization co-designed by communities, keeping kids close to home and within trusted social and familial networks. The success of the youth decarceral movement, while far from complete, offers lessons learned to adult system reformers.  

The paper will be released and discussed in a webinar Wednesday, June 17th at 5 PM EST, featuring Vinny Schiraldi; Vivian Nixon, Executive Director of College and Community Fellowship; Abdulkadir Ali, organizer for Maine Inside Out; Greg Davis, Judge for the Matariki Courts in Northland New Zealand; and Karl Racine, Attorney General for the District of Columbia.