Today, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, a regional human rights body, is hearing testimony on the issue of U.S. incarceration of youth in adult prisons. Thanks to Cynthia Soohoo, Director International Women's Human Rights Clinic at the City University of New York Law School, who reached out to CFYJ to urge that we submit testimony, we were able to participate in the hearing through the submission of written testimony.
CFYJ’s testimony focused on the fact that the United States is an outlier among nations in its policies that allow for the trying, sentencing and incarceration of youth in the adult criminal justice system. Additional points made in the testimony centered on the research showing that trying youth as adults increases the likelihood that youth will reoffend, youth of color are disproportionately impacted by these policies, and that youth in adult jails and prisons are at high risk of violence and abuse and being placed solitary confinement and are denied education and rehabilitative services. The testimony highlighted the fact that every national association of professionals with a policy related to housing youth in adult facilities uniformly rejects the practice of placing youth in adult facilities, public opinion polling also rejects the placement of youth in adult facilities, and that states are moving away from these policies. The testimony concludes with recommendations for the commission to make to U.S. policymakers.