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Decriminalize Youth Behavior

Divert Youth from the Justice System

Youth are often better served if involvement in the justice system can be avoided. Most youth age out of delinquent behavior without any formal justice-system intervention. Unnecessarily exposing young people to the juvenile justice system can actually encourage future criminal activity rather than deter it. For many youth entering the justice system, the consequences of a single lapse in judgment can haunt them for a lifetime. Most youth can be held accountable and supported in the context of family and community supports through processes such as restorative justice and social service interventions.

Principles of Youth Justice Reform 


Each National Juvenile Justice Network member embraces these principles of reform, and conducts state-based work on at least two principles. These principles and the associated text are from “Juvenile Justice Reform: A Blueprint,” developed by the Youth Transition Funders Group.