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February 14, 2017

Poll shows strong commitment to rehabilitation and prison alternatives for youth

A new poll sponsored by the Youth First Initiative reveals notable support for a rehabilitative approach to juvenile justice.  This webpage from Youth First reports on the essentials:

A new poll released today by Youth First shows that 78 percent of Americans favor keeping young people out of prisons and instead prefer community-based alternatives that are proven to lead to better outcomes.

At a time when partisan polarization is dominating the political landscape, the poll finds that Americans from a wide range of backgrounds and all political stripes support shifting the youth justice system’s focus from incarceration and punishment to prevention and rehabilitation.  Youth First, a national advocacy organization working to end the unconscionable practice of youth incarceration and reform the youth justice system, commissioned the poll which was conducted by GBA Strategies.

“Youth prisons are notoriously dangerous, ineffective, and outdated – and there is a clear consensus that it’s time to change the system,” said Liz Ryan, President of Youth First. “We know that kids can be rehabilitated without being locked up, if given the opportunity. States across the nation should unify behind this growing movement to close youth prison facilities and focus on solutions that actually work.”

The survey of over 1,000 adults found that:

· 89 percent support design treatment and rehabilitation plans that include a youth’s family in planning and services.

· 83 support providing financial incentives for states and municipalities to invest in alternatives to youth incarceration, such as intensive rehabilitation, education, job training, community services, and programs that provide youth the opportunity to repair harm to victims and communities.

· 69 percent support increasing funding to provide more public defenders to represent children in court.

· 70 percent support requiring states to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in the youth justice system.

Respondents cut across partisan affiliations, with 81% of Democrats, 83% of Independents, and 68% of Republicans supporting reform efforts.

February 14, 2017 at 12:24 AM | Permalink


Big problems with poll -- it does not define youth and talks about crime in general. That leaves it up to the person responding to envision the "typical" youth offender. I think that the vast majority of people (as shown by the poll) favor rehabilitation for the fourteen year old who is skipping school or is found in possession of cigarettes or alcohol. You would probably get a different result if you talked about the sixteen year old engaged in armed robbery.

Posted by: tmm | Feb 14, 2017 10:23:56 AM

Doug, you may wish to post on this:


Posted by: federalist | Feb 14, 2017 11:21:43 AM

Thanks for the link, federalist, concerning another example of an illegal voter (who is getting deported as a result). Not sure this is a sentencing story, but it will be very interesting to see how federal officials and judges respond/react over time to Prez Trump's repeated assertion that many millions have been voting illegally.

Posted by: Doug B. | Feb 14, 2017 1:48:31 PM

The members of this all female organization must offer to take these youthful offenders into their homes, rather than dumping these toxic people into black neighborhoods. They should video record the results, and post the recordings on the new Youtube channel, Hug a Thug.

I think the people here would enjoy the hijinks. Some of the women of the Youth First Initiative are young and sort of cute, for left wing women, like 4 or 5 out of 10.

Posted by: David Behar | Feb 14, 2017 2:06:03 PM

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