Star Ledger Editorial Board: Why pay more than $200k to lock one kid up in a half empty prison?

The Star Ledger Editorial Board wrote:

New Jersey's youth prisons are operating at half capacity, spending a fortune and utterly failing at their core mission: rehabilitating kids so they don't commit new crimes.  

That's why advocates with the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice are kicking off a campaign this week to shutter our state's largest youth prison, Jamesburg, and the only prison for girls, known as Hayes. That would leave open one medium security prison for boys, in Bordentown...

Many ultimately cycle through them anyway. New Jersey should aim for something more like Missouri's model, which closed youth prisons and completely transformed its system. Kids are housed in secure, cottage-style facilities, can put pictures on the wall and wear their street clothes. It costs about a quarter of what we spend per kid.  

Science tells us adolescent brains are still rewiring until around age 25, so kids are more prone to risky behavior. They can age out of that, but if we put them in large lockups far from their families, they're more likely to end up in the pipeline to adult prison.

To read the full staff editorial, please click here.