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Health And Public Safety

National Youth Justice Month

4:56 PM

This article was written by Alondra Reyes, Bernalillo County student intern and service core member.


National Youth Justice Awareness Month was created to call attention to youth experiencing the challenges of the juvenile justice system. Youth face barriers in education, employment, and in society itself, which can lead them into the juvenile justice system. Modern justice systems help guide these young people to a healthier, successful path. Diverting youth with low level misdemeanor approved from the justice system and into community programs is a large part of the system improvement work in Bernalillo County. Creating awareness of local system improvements is the first step to a better, safer society. Youth justice determines the foundation of coming societies. It is important we help break the cycles created in the justice system.

How can communities help? Spreading awareness makes a difference. Nationally and locally juvenile crime has dropped to historically low numbers. According to (https://ucr.fbi.gov/ucr-publications) national juvenile arrest rates have dropped 73 percent from 1990 to 2016. In Bernalillo County, juvenile arrest rates have dropped 80 percent from 1990 to 2016. Nationally, detention of youth has decreased 56 percent in the past decade.

Providing funding and support to community organizations that serve youth in a culture and gender specific way are key to juvenile justice system improvement in the Bernalillo County. Many non-profit organizations in Albuquerque provide programs for system-involved youth. Some staff members are familiar with the street life. They serve as role models to the youth and guide them to a lifestyle of service. Most funded programs are only 30 days long but can real change always happen in 30 days? Both long term and short-term programs are needed to support youth.

For positive change to continue to happen, we must work as a community to bring awareness to all aspects of youth justice. It is important that we make the changes necessary to stop the difficult cycle our detained youth became trapped in. For more information on Juvenile Justice system quality improvement measures in Bernalillo County see http://www.bernco.gov/health-and-public-safety/jdai-resources.aspx

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