Drafted under the direction of the Juvenile Justice Center of the American Bar Association, Beyond the Walls: Improving Conditions of Confinement for Youth in Custody is a fitting response to Attorney General Janet Reno's counsel:

America must not only take better care of its children before they get into trouble, but also not abandon them when they get into trouble.

This Report is a virtual toolbox for community advocates and program administrators committed to enhancing conditions of juvenile confinement. Some of the Report's tools may be used to help a young person obtain needed education or treatment; others may empower those working to protect children from abuse and maltreatment.

Additional tools, like the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act, can be used by advocates to enlist the Justice Department's aid in protecting the rights of children in custody. Others, like the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, address special education needs.

While some tools in Beyond the Walls will be familiar and others new, all recognize the lasting benefits of attaining constructive change in juvenile offenders and the inherent risks of criminalizing, warehousing, and abandoning them. I trust we will use these tools effectively as we work together to meet the worthy goal set forth by the Attorney General.

Shay Bilchik
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

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