Thousands of young people end up in courtrooms every year because they run away from home, skip school, or engage in other risky behaviors that are prohibited only because of their age. A report from the Vera Institute of Justice stresses that responding to these cases, called “status offenses,” in court can lead to deeper juvenile justice system involvement, including detention or placement in a residential facility – outcomes that are out of proportion to the young people’s actions. Vera’s Status Offense Reform Center, which is part of MacArthur’s Models for Change Resource Center Partnership, acts as a resource to policymakers and practitioners, helping states and localities develop useful community-based responses to young people whose behavior is problematic, but noncriminal in nature.
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