New America Media, Commentary, David Muhammad, Posted: Aug 28, 2012
Juvenile justice is transforming throughout America. Though there is a long road ahead to reform these systems into effective, rehabilitative programs that no longer make children worse, there is great promise in jurisdictions across the country, that are changing how they work with youth.
California, Texas, Washington, DC, New York, and many other jurisdictions have seen significant juvenile justice reform efforts take root. These reform efforts seek to protect the public safety by providing effective, rehabilitative services and supports to young people who have engaged in delinquent behavior.
One of the most promising of these juvenile justice reform initiatives is Positive Youth Development (PYD), also called Positive Youth Justice. PYD is a strengths-based approach to working with youth, in contrast to traditional correctional models, which are inherently deficit-based. Historically, young people in juvenile justice systems have been seen as “problems” that need to be fixed or punished, an approach that has proven both harmful to youth and ineffective from a public safety perspective. PYD builds on the strengths and assets of youth while also addressing their needs.
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