RICHMOND—The National Governors Association (NGA) hosted a learning lab on alternatives to incarceration for justice-involved youth on Tuesday, April 11, and Wednesday, April 12. State teams from Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma and the Virgin Islands discussed alternatives to youth incarceration to improve public safety and youth outcomes and ultimately make the juvenile justice system smarter, fairer and more cost-effective.

The NGA Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) identified Virginia as an innovator state that has made measurable progress on reducing juvenile incarceration. At the learning lab, the commonwealth’s ongoing reform work was showcased. “Under Gov. McAuliffe, Virginia has emerged as a real leader in implementing innovative solutions to transform juvenile justice systems nationwide,” said NGA Center Homeland Security and Public Safety Director Jeff McLeod. “The learning lab successfully highlighted how the state budget process can help transform systems; how governors can drive system-wide, sustainable change; and how youth outcomes can benefit from changes in policy, programs and practice.”

During the learning lab, state teams also discussed how to create  to create and implement incarceration alternatives and developmentally appropriate facility settings in panels joined by Nate Balis, Director of the Juvenile Justice Strategy Group and The Annie E. Casey Foundation; Brian Moran, Secretary of the Virginia Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security; and Andrew Block, Director of the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice. Participants explored how to target their goals and seek measurable outcomes, reflected on their states’ successes and challenges and addressed potential challenges and pitfalls in sustainability.

To learn more about the NGA Center for Best Practices Homeland Security and Public Safety Division, click here.

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