Youth Justice in the Time of COVID-19

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Indiana Court Times on 9/14/2020 by By Nancy Wever, Director | Indiana Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative

Almost overnight, Indiana’s youth justice systems went from business as usual to remote supervision, virtual interactions, and attending court hearings online. What may have been considered something that would never happen six months ago did happen and will likely permanently shape the operation of youth justice systems. Those who work in youth justice systems—in addition to worrying about personal health and the well-being of family and friends, juggling new careers as teachers and childcare providers, and trying to find moments of quiet in crowded homes—were suddenly faced with serious concerns for the health, safety, supervision, and well-being of the youth they serve.

Perhaps the heaviest question is: “How do we maintain public safety while protecting youth from the health risks of confinement in congregate care settings, which may not have the supplies and space necessary to prohibit transmission of the virus?”