As Father's Day approached, and I watched my kids excitedly make plans to celebrate, I couldn't help but reflect on my juvenile justice reform work. As a former youth corrections administrator, I noticed their excitement is so different than the isolation we know is too often experienced by kids in facilities.
We've been heading in the wrong direction and depriving our young people of the chance to reach their full potential, and too often we are punishing children for symptoms of health problems. We should reconsider how we work with adolescents who are crying out for help even as they make youthful mistakes.
In an historic moment yesterday, President Obama used his executive authority to end the use of solitary confinement for youth in the federal prison system. This action is incredibly important to the numerous youth who are prosecuted and sentenced as adults in the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) each year.
As I celebrate the holiday season surrounded by loving family and friends, my thoughts turn to the millions of incarcerated men and women surrounded by cold steel prison bars. In the holiday spirit of compassion, and with an ever-present eye toward public safety and correctional reform, I have compiled a list of my top five wishes for the incarcerated.
State officials in New York are reforming their policy of keeping people convicted of non-violent offenses in solitary confinement. Some hail the decision; others, including corrections officers, object, saying that solitary confinement is necessary to maintain control, and they say that keeping an individual in solitary confinement is not inhumane.