Juvenile Justice

Governors and state leaders are committed to improving outcomes for youth, and states have adopted comprehensive juvenile justice reforms to improve outcomes for youth involved in the justice system. The focus of these reforms has included policies to safely decrease the use of incarceration and out of home placement of youth; invest in community-based, family-focused services and supports; and improve conditions of confinement for those youth who are placed in facilities out of home. These policies are not only more effective in reducing crime and rates of re-offending, and supporting children and families, but they are also more cost-effective.

The NGA Center supports states in their efforts to improve juvenile justice systems by convening multi-state meetings and in-state workshops, as well as hosting webinars to help states develop innovative, effective, and sustainable policies and practices.

NGA’s Juvenile Justice Work with Governors

  • In April 2017, NGA Center hosted a learning lab on alternatives to incarceration for justice-involved youth. 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. Virginia was identified 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.
  • In September 2014, the NGA Center, with support from the Tow and Annie E. Casey Foundations, convened cross-branch teams of high-level state policymakers from Arkansas, Indiana, Michigan, and Tennessee at the Learning Lab on Improving Outcomes for Justice-Involved Youth to learn about the success Connecticut has had over the last decade reforming its juvenile justice system.

State Federal Collaboration

  • Letter to Committee on the Judiciary Chairman and Ranking Minority Member on support of states in combating youth violence.
  • Letter to Committee on the Judiciary Chairman and Ranking Minority Member on the attention Congress is giving to the issues of juvenile crime, delinquency and violence and the role of Governors in addressing these issues.