JUVENILE JUSTICE REFORM
We must drastically rethink our juvenile justice system. Under the law, juveniles are to be given treatment rather than punishment, although the state's current “treatment centers” operate much more like jails for children. We should seek to abolish these residential facilities wherever possible in favor of services provided within the juvenile’s own community and environment, allowing for greater family support and less harm to youth.
Furthermore, we must stop the flow of juveniles into the system. Across the nation, zero-tolerance policies have caused an elevated rate of “school pushout” and school-based arrests. The presence of Safety Resource Officers and local law enforcement, often with little training or experience working with youth, contribute to a rise in student arrests, most often for non-violent offenses. Misbehavior that at one time was dealt with by a school principal or counselor, can now land children in the back of a police car.