End Youth Incarceration by Investing in Alternatives
WHEREAS, the NAACP has previously resolved that prevention and rehabilitation are vital components of any juvenile justice policy, and that equal protection for youth be guaranteed under the law; and
WHEREAS, the United States is the largest incarcerator of children in the world with more than 90,000 youth detained or confined in juvenile prisons and detention centers, juvenile correctional facilities, adult jails and adult prisons, and other out-of-home placements; and
WHEREAS, African-American youth disproportionately receive more punitive treatment by the justice system than their white peers for the same offenses at all stages of the justice system and are 4.6 times more likely to be incarcerated; and
WHEREAS, youth are often imprisoned in facilities so far away that their families cannot afford to visit and they are subjected to intolerable levels of physical and mental abuse, sexual violence, physical and chemical restraints, excessive isolation and solitary confinement; and
WHEREAS, research shows that the failure of the juvenile justice systems to provide an adequate, effective education of incarcerated youth contributes to a 60% more likelihood of being incarcerated as adults than individuals who have not been in prison or jail; and
WHEREAS, youth imprisonment disparities could be remediated through prison closures and reinvestment of the savings into community-based, non-residential alternatives to incarceration; and
WHEREAS, the NAACP reaffirm its resolutions from 2000, 2002, and 2008, which strongly oppose having youth offenders in adult facilities.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the NAACP call on the U.S. Attorney General, the Office of Justice Programs Administrator, the Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Administrator, the nation's governors and legislators to support policies to end youth incarceration by closing youth prisons and detention centers, reducing out-of-home confinement of youth, and investing resources in community-based, non-residential alternatives to incarceration; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NAACP call on Congress to further support policies to end youth incarceration by reauthorizing and providing adequate resources for the Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) and to invest in efforts such as the Smart on Juvenile Justice initiative to close youth prisons and detention centers, reduce out-of-home confinement of youth, and invest resources in community-based, non-residential alternatives to incarceration; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that all units and members educate themselves as to their state's use of incarceration for youth and community-based, non- residential alternatives to incarceration and avail themselves of opportunities to educate others about the impact of and alternatives to the incarceration of youth; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the NAACP will advocate to end youth incarceration, reduce the disparate treatment of African-American youth in the justice system, and increase investments in programs and services in the community for youth in the justice system that support their overall well-being including educational, health, mental health, and vocational needs.