NEW JERSEY – Acting Governor Sheila Y. Oliver Tuesday announced the release of the Youth Justice Task Force Report, which was issued by the Task Force for the Continued Transformation of Youth Justice in New Jersey (“Task Force”).
The Task Force, which was created in 2018 when Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 42, consists of over a dozen stakeholders involved in all facets of juvenile justice and is charged with providing recommendations to the legislative and executive branches on strategies for continuing the reform of the state’s youth justice system.
Prior to the signing of Executive Order No. 42, the existing Juvenile Justice Commission conducted groundbreaking work to reduce the incarcerated youth population through the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Through the Commission’s efforts, New Jersey made great strides in modernizing its juvenile justice system. However, large racial disparities in youth incarceration rates persisted.
“New Jersey is the only state to be designated a national leader by the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative. The Youth Justice Task Force’s recommendations to create a safer, fairer, more equitable juvenile justice system will work to further meet the goals of the JDAI,” Governor Murphy said. “I look forward to seeing these recommendations integrated into our juvenile justice system in the near future.”
“I am pleased to announce the release of the Youth Justice Task Force Report,” Oliver said. “This report is a continuation of an equitable approach to transform the youth justice system in New Jersey. Although we have seen a reduction in the number of incarcerated children since the enactment of the JDAI, there is still much more work to be done to create a safer and more equitable system.”
The report consists of four major parts, broken down by the four Task Force subcommittees:
- Residential and Secure Facilities
- Sentencing and Parole
- Stationhouse Adjustment
- Youth Services Commissions and Investment in Community-Based Programs
In developing the recommendations listed in the report to further reform the juvenile justice system in our state, the Task Force conducted extensive research examining every facet of the youth justice system, reviewing data on the current system, and identifying best practices. To identify a path forward in tackling the systemic racial disparities, the Task Force conducted public listening sessions throughout the state. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 900 residents engaged with the Task Force, with many sharing their lived experiences. The Task Force also heard from industry experts, impacted youth, and visited existing programs. The report reflects the work and engagement efforts of the Task Force.
The Administration will review the report findings within the context of pandemic realities, subsequent legislation, directives, and administrative decisions.
“This report underscores New Jersey’s continued leadership in juvenile justice reform,” said Acting Attorney General Platkin. “The Youth Justice Task Force has given us a roadmap to continue improving our youth justice system to ensure that each young person has every opportunity for success.”
To view the full report, click here.