YSRP in The Philadelphia Inquirer: Shedding Light on Issues Related to Confinement of Youth in the Adult Justice System and Juvenile Lifer Resentencing and Reentry
Many of the issues facing young people in the adult criminal justice system have been covered in depth in The Philadelphia Inquirer this summer, and feature quotes and insights from YSRP's Co-Directors Joanna Visser Adjoian and Lauren Fine. Stories include coverage of the use of solitary confinement in juvenile facilities, excessive bail costs for youth charged as adults, and the Department of Corrections' plans for the release of "juvenile lifers" who have spent decades in prison, and will soon be reentering society.
Kids in solitary in Philly jails: 'It was the worst time of my life'
Today's Inquirer features an article on solitary confinement for youth in adult correctional facilities. YSRP Co-Directors are quoted in the article, which provides a harrowing account of this damaging and inhumane practice.
As the article notes, "for children from Philadelphia, it is not unusual to end up in isolation. In 2015, juveniles at PICC were placed in punitive segregation 41 times, for an average of 32 days." Joanna Visser Adjoian explains that "solitary confinement is used against children even in pretrial situations, where they have not been convicted of anything." And Lauren Fine shared that "[t]here's sort of a dead look in a kid's eye when they've been spending the entire day in a locked room by themselves," Fine said. "It is really jarring to see a 16-year-old kid with chains around his belly and hands and feet, and to see that look."
“Not only are they virtually always held on money bail (as opposed to released on some other condition, such as house arrest), but their bail amounts are often set extremely high. The average bail assigned in 2016 was $248,000, far outside bail guidelines the courts established in 2012, which recommend bail between $9,000 and $75,000 for the highest-risk offenders charged with the most serious of crimes.
At a time when the city is embarking on a $6.1 million effort in partnership with the MacArthur Foundation to reduce its jail population by one-third, these bail amounts mean almost all juveniles will be locked up for months or years before ever being convicted of a crime.”
After Decades Behind Bars, Juvenile Lifers are Released -- but to what?
Also in July, YSRP was quoted in an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer about some of the challenges facing juvenile lifers in Pennsylvania as they prepare for and execute reentry.
“The Philadelphia Reentry Coalition, a collaboration between city and nonprofit agencies, is organizing to fill gaps in support. Joanna Visser Adjoian and Lauren Fine of the nonprofit Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project are cochairing a committee on juvenile lifers. They said advocates have volunteered to work on issues ranging from food-stamp applications to protection from identity theft and fraud."
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