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About RISE for Youth

RISE for Youth is a nonpartisan campaign in support of community alternatives to youth incarceration.

Our Mission:

RISE for Youth is a nonpartisan campaign committed to dismantling the youth prison model by promoting the creation of community-based alternatives to youth incarceration.  Our work centers the voices of impacted youth and communities and challenges racial injustice in Virginia.

Our Goals:

Increase the likelihood that youth will become law-abiding adults by investing in community- based alternatives to juvenile justice system involvement.

Reduce the number of youth arrested, referred, under the supervision of the Department of Juvenile Justice or committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Close Virginia’s juvenile prisons and re-invest savings from their closure into evidence-informed, community-based alternatives that will keep youth at home with their families and communities and keep communities safer.

Build a true continuum of evidence-informed placements for youth that cannot safely remain in their homes.

In response to Governor Northam’s call for an investigation into abuse allegations from immigrant children detained in Virginia juvenile facilities, Valerie Slater, Coalition Coordinator of RISE for Youth, issued the following statement:

“The reports of abuse from immigrant children being held in the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center are horrific. The recently filed lawsuit charges that children were subjected to violent abuse – restrained in chairs, bags put over their heads, and forcibly injected with psychotropic drugs. All Virginians, whether they are parents or not, should ask themselves if we want this happening in our name.

“Abuse at juvenile facilities doesn’t just affect immigrant children. By locking up young people, we’re continuing an archaic and ineffective institution which results in the isolation of children at a time when they are still developing. Children need support, not more trauma. I’m glad that Governor Northam recognizes the urgency of this issue and has called for an investigation.

“Despite these awful reports, Virginia can change for the better. The abuse in the Shenandoah facility underscores the harms of locking up youth, and Governor Northam is right to call for an investigation of this facility. He must do more to reexamine the juvenile justice system’s over-reliance on prison cells for children. The Governor can begin by meeting with the most directly impacted communities and supporting impacted community voices in the development of effective prison alternatives.”

Recent News

Virginia Youth Justice Advocate Wins National Award

Virginia Youth Justice Advocate Wins National Award RISE for Youth Coordinator Valerie Slater Recognized for…

Valerie Slater: Youth prisons are harmful to children, families

By Valerie Slater For the Virginian Pilot July 15, 2018 WHEN U.S. SEN. MARK Warner…

RISE for Youth Statement on Governor Northam’s Call for Investigation

In response to Governor Northam’s call for an investigation into abuse allegations from immigrant children…

RISE for Youth Statement on Funding for New Youth Prison

In response to Governor Northam’s signing a two-year budget which does not include funding for…

New Report “Beyond Bars” released. Read it, share it, and demand that your lawmakers act on it!

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