The president and congress should not leave out youth behind bars in efforts to reform criminal justice this year and their actions must focus on reforms at both the federal and state level. Kalief Browder and Andre Sheffield's deaths are a sobering reminder to the president and the congress of the urgency and the need to ensure youth behind bars are not left behind.
Why are so many girls, especially girls of color, confined in our nation's detention facilities, and what are we as a society going to do about it? We must all work tirelessly to give hope and a fair chance to these girls and all children by promoting policies, programs, and supports that help them and their families, especially those most at risk.
When young people graduate from the juvenile justice system, they have, by any reasonable measure, repaid their debt to society. But one debt is not easily repaid: the hundreds and even thousands of dollars in fines, fees and restitution that young people and their families owe as a result of their cases.