"Once incarcerated, children are at risk of physical and psychological abuse, sexual assault, suicide and other harms, including inadequate educational instruction. The use of solitary confinement further deprives them of social interaction, mental stimulation and key services during a critical time of adolescent brain development. Risks are heightened for children in the adult criminal justice system, which is focused on punishment rather than rehabilitation and treatment. Children in adult jails are more likely to suffer permanent trauma and are five times more likely to die by suicide than children held in juvenile detention centers.13

"We have better choices than incarceration. Diversion, treatment, after school and family support programs support children, keep communities safe and save taxpayer dollars."


"The State of America's Children 2020," Children's Defense Fund. Washington, DC: 2020.