Over the past 40 years, the United States built the largest prison system the world, yet, mass incarceration has not made communities safer. Despite this glaring and ugly truth, local, state, and federal governments continue to throw money behind this failure. The over-reliance on prisons resembles a public-safety Ponzi scheme. This scheme has devastated communities in its wake, worsening racial inequity while the gap between rich and poor widens. Unfortunately, too many still see incarceration as the only “public safety” strategy.
J4F works for “justice reinvestment” – the reallocation of government spending wasted on mass incarceration, failed “tough-on-crime” juvenile justice polices and toward investment in families, youth opportunity, and low-income communities. A transformed youth justice system would reallocate resources to fund conflict-resolution and peace-building programs in schools as well as positive youth development and supervision programs as primary options for court-involved youth. Here are but a few examples of “justice reinvestment.”
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In the past 40 years, the United States built the largest prison system the world, yet, mass incarceration has not made communities safer. Instead, it worsened racial inequity while the gap between rich and poor widened. J4F works for reinvestment of government spending wasted on failed “tough-on-crime” juvenile justice policies and toward low-income communities.
Below/Above, you’ll find families speaking about the need for ‘justice reinvestment’ initiatives as well as examples of successful justice reinvestment initiatives. We invite you to help us build the broad-based people-powered coalition so we can turn youth imprisonment into youth possibilities.
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Texas Legislators Fund Nurses Not Jails
In 2007, the Texas prison population was projected to grow by more than 14,000 people over a five-year period, costing taxpayers an additional $523 million for the construction and operation of new facilities in 2008 and 2009. Instead, Texas legislators used funds that would have normally been used to expand the number of prisons to fund alternatives to incarceration including a Nurse Family Partnership program that pairs low-income first-time mothers with nurses. Texas saved $210 million in choosing the alternative programs and were poised to save an additional $233 million if no additional prisons were needed or built. For more information, visit Justice Reinvestment State Brief Texas by Justice Center, Council of State Governments.
Help us build the broad-based people-powered coalitions to win justice reinvestment. Join us for Night Out For Safety
Close Tallulah Now!
It was once described as by the New York Times as the worst youth in prison. The Swanson Correctional Center for Youth was known more commonly as ‘Tallulah,’ for the small northeastern Louisiana town in which it was located.
A coalition of groups including Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC) and the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana (JJPL) helped lead campaign to close this notoriously abusive youth prison and usher in a series of reforms impacting the state’s entire juvenile justice system. FFLIC and JJPL helped pass the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2003 (Act 1225) which not only led to the closing of Tallulah but also included added periodic juvenile placement reviews to ensure that youth are kept in the least restrictive setting, and promoted the development of nationally recognized and accepted standards of practice for local juvenile detention facilities. One reform that did not ultimately pass was FFLIC and JJPL’s attempt to transform the closed youth prison into a satellite of one of Louisiana’s community colleges. For More Information.
Chicago Peace Warriors
Located in the West Side of Chicago, North Lawndale College Prepatory High School is located in a community long plagued by violence. Yet, a group of students and supportive faculty, trained in “Kingian Non-violence”, helped reduce incidences of violence at the school. Rather than focusing on the absence of violence, this “peace warrior” program focused on building a culture of peace at the school. As a result of the program, the school principal was able to use resources formerly spent on metal detectors and security guards to fund leadership and academic programs. For More Information.
Art Teachers Not Security Guards
By Zachary Norris
Recently, a Boston Principal opted to fire the school’s security guards and replace them with art teacher. Read about the impact on students by checking out the article below: