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To: The PA legislature + Governor Wolf

Care, Not Control: Ending Youth Incarceration in Pennsylvania


1. End the carceral state for youth in Pennsylvania.

2. Divest from youth incarceration and reinvest in communities.

3. Always treat children as children.

4. Provide holistic support to young people as they await release.

5. Transform probation and eliminate fines and fees.

6. Provide holistic support to young people returning home.

7. Release youth in light of the heightened dangerousness of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Why is this important?


We are a coalition of young people and youth advocates working to end youth incarceration. Together, we’ve created a vision for, and action steps towards, ending youth incarceration in Pennsylvania once and for all.

The story of youth incarceration in Pennsylvania is one of ineffective spending, racial discrimination, and unchecked abuse; of children being locked in adult jails; of life-altering trauma.

As you read our platform, we want you to remember this: we are not just working to end inhumane, ineffective, and racist practices—we are working to build a new world where every young person has a chance to thrive.

This new world is invested in care, rather than control. This world is within our reach.

We have everything we need to create it, starting today.

We have the data. The data tells us that punitive models of control don’t work. Annually, 3,000 children and teens are locked in carceral settings where they experience violence instead of justice; neglect instead of guardianship; and stagnation instead of growth.

Black and Latinx youth are more likely than White youth to receive punitive sentences such as incarceration or transfer to adult court, while White youth are more likely to receive probation and diversion programs that allow them to remain in their communities, despite similar levels of engagement in delinquent behavior.

We have the resources. The amount spent on youth prisons could be transformative if channeled into care-based resources. Each year, we spend an average of $211,000 to incarcerate a child compared to the $16,000 on average that we spend to educate a child.

And we have both the wisdom and ingenuity needed to establish and maintain alternatives to incarceration that support safety and wellbeing for all of Pennsylvania’s children.
Pennsylvania, USA

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2022-02-15 03:44:14 -0800

1,000 signatures reached

2021-01-30 12:31:51 -0800

500 signatures reached

2020-12-17 10:43:49 -0800

100 signatures reached

2020-12-16 15:32:32 -0800

50 signatures reached

2020-12-16 14:45:34 -0800

25 signatures reached

2020-12-16 08:51:50 -0800

10 signatures reached