The month of April was designated to commemorate Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Individuals and members of organizations will be calling their governors, congress members and senators to stop the practice of placing juveniles in adult jails and prisons.
Make sure your state is in compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act by participating.
Passed unanimously by Congress in 2003, PREA restricts the placement of juveniles in adult jails and prisons.
The U.S. Department of Justice adopted a standard that restricts the placement of youth in adult facilities and safeguards children in these facilities.
Governors must begin auditing detention and correctional facilities by September, 2013 to ensure full compliance with PREA or risk losing a percentage of federal funding allocated for justice programs in their state.
The positive move is designed to protect a youth offender from the many horrors encountered while incarcerated in an adult prison or jail.
- Banning the housing of youth in the general adult popullation
- Prohibiting contact between youth and adults in common areas
- Ensuring youth are constantly supervised by staff
- Limiting the use of isolation which causes or exacerbates mental health problems for youth.
Ensuring compliance with these regulations is crucial to fully protect children from the dangers of adult jails and prisons.
Instead of segregating children from adults in adult jails and prisons which often leads to solitary confinement, governors must implement best practices by removing youth from adult jails and prisons.
“The PREA standards will protect hundreds of thousands of kids prosecuted in the adult system every year, and get us one step closer to completely removing youth from adult jails and prisons” said President and CEO of the Campaign for Youth Justice, Liz Ryan.
“We hope that as states implement these important standards they use this opportunity to reconsider the practice of trying youth as adults overall.”
Each year, approximately 250,000 children are exposed to the dangers of the adult criminal justice system.
States most affected by this new rule are: NC, NY, CT, GA, IL, LA, MA, MO, MI, NH, SC, TX, and WI which end juvenile court jurisdiction at 16 or 17, instead of the age of 18.
Defined by state law as “adults”, this new rule clarifies that all youth under the age of 18 deserve extra protections.
These federal regulations represent positive changes are coming into effect. For the first time the U.S. government has national standards to eliminate sexual abuse in prisons, jails, juvenile detention facilities, community corrections facilities, and police lock-ups.
Please visit CFYJ’s fact sheet on the Prison Rape Elimination Act, by visiting here: http://www.campaignforyouthjustice.org/preac.html and join the conversation on #ImplementPREA you can also follow CFYJ on Twitter and Facebook.
The Campaign for Youth Justice is a national organization dedicated to ending the practice of trying, sentencing and incarcerating youth under the age of 18 in the adult criminal justice system.
For more information please visit http://www.campaignforyouthjustice.org