This is a monster of a report. The Department of Justice releases crime statistics per state on a yearly basis. This particular report is specifically juvenile justice. They breakdown types of crimes committed, ages of the children committing those crimes, ethnicity and race, and if those children were put into the justice system or released after counseling. What numbers I tend to focus on are those crimes relating to non-violent offenses (ie property offenses which are in a large degree small graffiti infractions and loitering).

The criminalization of youth offenses that in the past where thought of as “kids being kids” are placing thousands of children into the justice system. The poverty discrimination debate is proven by those families who lack the resources to properly represent their children, therefore entering the justice system and beginning the cycle of incarceration and life-long repercussions felt by institutionalization and fear.

I ask you to consider options to protect our youth. Consider options that are idealistic in a way to prevent these children from entering a situation that has dire results. Giving kids a healthy outlet for growth; whether it be in the arts, sports, science, mentorship, community service, or alternative education can make a higher impact than any type of incarceration in youth non-violent offenders.

Help us reach these kids before it is too late… Let PREVENTION be most important word we use when speaking of youth incarceration and make change to disrupt the “school to prison pipeline” NOW.