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Press Release

President Biden Issues Proclamation on Youth Justice, Calls for "Shift" From Incarceration to Prevention

WASHINGTON -

President Joe Biden issued a proclamation today in support of October’s designation as Youth Justice Action Month. The proclamation calls on all states, jurisdictions and territories, “To give all of our young people a chance to live up to their full potential, we need to shift our approach from a default stance of incarceration to one of prevention – a strategy that recognizes that children’s developmental stages and needs are starkly different from those of adults.”

Marcy Mistrett, Director of Youth Justice at The Sentencing Project, issued the following statement on today’s White House announcement:

“The United States must ensure children are treated as children in the justice system by raising the age of criminal responsibility within the juvenile justice system, ending automatic transfers to the adult criminal system, and ending the extreme sentencing of children. President Biden’s proclamation recognizes that these youth justice reforms matter.”

The Sentencing Project applauds important steps already advanced for youth justice by President Biden’s Administration, several of which are included in today’s proclamation: 

  • Ensuring equity and fairness in our youth justice system
  • Closing and repurposing youth prisons, and investing in community-based alternatives
  • Deepening investments in prevention
  • Narrowing the school to prison pipeline with historic investments in education targeted toward children who have fallen behind during the pandemic

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The Sentencing Project is a leader in changing the way Americans think about crime and punishment. The Sentencing Project promotes effective and humane responses to crime that minimize imprisonment and criminalization of youth and adults by promoting racial, ethnic, economic, and gender justice.

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