Data Reveals Violence Among Youth Under 18 Has Not Spiked in the Pandemic

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The Sentencing Project on 6/14/2022 by Richard Mendel

Pervasive discussions about adolescent crime have revitalized calls for punitive approaches to youth justice that don’t work

Throughout the pandemic, a flurry of alarming news coverage and inflammatory rhetoric from politicians have appeared in national1) and local2) media highlighting serious violent crimes by youth. The issue has generated considerable political attention in Congress3) and across the country, and it has fueled calls to scale back youth justice reforms enacted in many states and to derail proposed reforms in others.4)

This report explains why these calls for a return to get-tough youth justice policies are misguided, based on a false narrative regarding recent trends in youth crime and what actually works to prevent delinquency and promote youth success.

Our nation must always take vigilant action steps to increase public safety, starting with common sense gun regulations to limit access to deadly weapons. But the nation must be clear-eyed about the nature and dimensions of youth violence and cannot allow media-fueled concerns over crime or election-year political posturing to distract attention from efforts to mobilize urgently needed social, emotional, and mental health support for young people in their schools and communities.5)

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