Juvenile Injustice: Trauma and Risk of Abuse

"Children do not belong in prisons. Incarceration does not support the growth and development of our children; it places them at risk and limits their access to resources.

"• While incarcerated, children are often provided with inadequate education instruction, health care, and counseling services and they are at greater risk of maltreatment, physical and psychological abuse, sexual assault, and suicide.13

"• The use of solitary confinement further deprives them of social interaction, mental stimulation, and key services during a critical time of adolescent brain development. Youth of color and LGBTQ youth are at heightened risk of being placed in solitary confinement and youth with disabilities are often placed in isolation due to lack of available services or accommodations—when no child should be placed in solitary confinement regardless of identity.14

"• Risks are heightened for children in the adult criminal justice system, which is even more 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.15"


"The State of America's Children 2021," Children's Defense Fund. Washington, DC: 2021.