Two Days Until PREA Compliance Certification: The Youthful Inmate Standard Matters
Prisons and jails across the United States house youth under 18 with adults every single day. The most recent data from the Department of Justice, Bureau of Statistics reports that nearly 4500 youth are held in jails and nearly 2000 in prisons on any given day. According to the new data, Florida houses over 200 youth each day in adult prison, Louisiana and New York, 178 and 182 respectively, Connecticut 143, North Carolina 115, and Michigan and Texas, 106 and 104. Georgia houses nearly 100.
The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), Youthful Inmate Standard, was created to protect these youth from the real dangers of living in prisons and jails and now is the time for Governor's to tell us how they expect to safely hold these youth. Our solution? Remove them completely and give them access to developmentally appropriate rehabilitative services in the juvenile justice system. In two days, Governors will have to certify whether the state is in compliance with PREA, or make assurances that federal dollars will be used to come into compliance.
While we suspect many states will not certify full compliance, our goal is to keep shining a light on the prevalence of sexual abuse of youth in adult jails and prisons and continue to call on the full removal of youth in adult facilities.