Children in Adult Prison
Across the United States, thousands of children have been sentenced as adults and sent to adult prisons. Nearly 3000 nationwide have been sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Children as young as 13 years old have been tried as adults and sentenced to die in prison, typically without any consideration of their age or circumstances of the offense.
Many young children in America are imperiled by abuse, neglect, domestic and community violence, and poverty. Without effective intervention and help, these children suffer, struggle, and fall into despair and hopelessness. Some young teens cannot manage the emotional, social, and psychological challenges of adolescence and eventually engage in destructive and violent behavior. Sadly, many states have ignored the crisis and dysfunction that creates child delinquency and instead have subjected kids to further victimization and abuse in the adult criminal justice system.
For children with parole-eligible sentences, unique release and re-entry challenges too often create insurmountable obstacles to parole and successful re-entry. Young people who have been in prison since they were adolescents need help learning basic life skills.