On December 9, 2019, GLAD Senior Staff Attorney Patience Crozier submitted testimony, along with Citizens for Juvenile Justice, with recommendations on reforms regarding emerging adults to produce better outcomes for our youth and our communities. LGBTQ youth are disproportionately represented in the juvenile justice system due to stereotypes, pervasive stigma, bias and structural factors. Family rejection, unsupportive schools, and discriminatory policing practices contribute to increased interactions between LGBTQ youth and the juvenile and criminal justice systems.

GLAD asks that the Criminal Justice Task Force on Juvenile Age recommend gradually raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction to end the automatic prosecution of older teens (18- to 20-year-olds) as adults.

“Through this systemic reform, Massachusetts can lower recidivism rates and prevent further involvement of youth in the criminal legal system. Research demonstrates that young people who are incarcerated in adult facilities are more likely to re-offend, re-offend sooner, and commit more violent offenses in the future. Further, youth in juvenile facilities are safer when placed in juvenile facilities as opposed to adult facilities,” says Patience Crozier in her testimony. Read the full text here.

“An overly punitive approach can actually cause more offending: Most young people “age out” of offending by their mid-twenties, particularly with developmentally appropriate interventions. The juvenile system’s focus on accountability through rehabilitation and positive youth developments is directly tied to lower recidivism rates,” says CfJJ testimony. Read the full text here.