In no way do we wish to rob individuals of their accountability to society's basic rules of just conduct. All need to understand that punishment is a consequence of crime. But for young offenders in particular, the social and psychological context of their crimes is vital. When young people are caught up into an adult system of justice that often includes harsh mandatory sentencing, all context disappears.
We believe in the power of redemption. We find it excessive and unjust for young people to be sentenced to dehumanizing conditions or into situations that effectively teach them that they cannot be rehabilitated. Juvenile justice should be particularly responsive to the tremendous capacity of young people to heal, to grow and to redeem themselves. Within rational bounds of public safety, our codes, our courts and our institutions should better reflect that hope.
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