Youth advocates call for overhaul of Philadelphia juvenile justice system

Pat Loeb, KYW Newsradio •
front of the Juvenile Justice Services Center

Youth advocates on Tuesday called for a revamp of Philadelphia’s juvenile justice system to deal with an overcrowding crisis at the city’s youth detention center.

They criticized a plan to move some of the youth to a state facility in Luzerne County.

The advocates gathered outside the city’s Juvenile Justice Service Center (PJJSC), their call for change echoing off its walls.

“It’s time for us to rethink why we are detaining these children,” said Nicole El of the Defenders Association. She said dangerous overcrowding inside the center was not just because the state has refused to take youth who’ve already been sentenced, but because too many youth are put in detention in the first place.

“Shuffling kids from one detention facility to another is worse than what some might call a band-aid solution,” she said, “particularly when we’re moving them out of the communities and sending them far away.”

Listen to the full KYW News Coverage of our Press Conference at the JJSC Here


About the Expert
Malik Pickett is a staff attorney at Juvenile Law Center who joined the organization in 2020. He advocates for the rights of youth in the juvenile justice system through litigation, amicus and policy advocacy efforts. Prior to joining Juvenile Law Center, Pickett worked as an associate attorney with the law firm of Wade Clark Mulcahy, LLP where he litigated personal injury and construction defect cases and as a legislative counsel for the Honorable Pennsylvania State Senators Shirley M. Kitchen and Jay Costa.