'Harms to Our Children Are Widespread’: Philly Nonprofit Calls For State to Overhaul Juvenile Justice System

Aaron Moselle, WHYY •

A new report out of Philadelphia calls on state officials to stop sending children to facilities for juvenile offenders, saying they’re expensive, ineffective and “pose a high risk of short- and long-term harm” to minors — including emotional and physical abuse.

Released Friday by the nonprofit Juvenile Law Center, the report recommends systemic reforms aimed at helping these children stay in their neighborhoods and avoid placement in institutions in the first place.

“It’s not just a problem of a few bad apples. Harms to our children are widespread,” said Jessica Feierman, senior managing director of Juvenile Law Center, during a news conference.

About the Expert

Jessica Feierman oversees Juvenile Law Center’s projects and programs. Feierman currently leads a national effort to end fines and fees in the juvenile justice system and is engaged in litigation aimed at eliminating solitary confinement and other abusive practices in juvenile facilities.