In a new blog, OJJDP Administrator Liz Ryan discusses treating children as children, one of three priorities that guides the work of OJJDP. This is the first of three blog posts by Ryan during National Youth Justice Action Month (YJAM), recognized each October to raise awareness and highlight the need to support justice-involved youth.
"One of my three top priorities as OJJDP administrator is to ensure that we treat America’s children as children, respecting their needs and ensuring they receive developmentally appropriate services," writes Ryan. “This begins with ensuring that young people who break the law are processed in the juvenile justice system—not adult criminal court.”
Ryan points to research that shows youth charged as adults are 34 percent more likely to be rearrested. She adds that funneling youth into the adult system both exacerbates racial disparities and causes harm to youth when they are housed in adult jails and prisons.
The Administrator's blog also highlights OJJDP funding of programs that support and protect children.