New Report Provides Strategies to Combat Mis-Incarceration of Children with Disabilities

Boy in jail suit with blurred face sitting on jail bed

The National Disability Rights Network has published a new report, “Probation Referral: Model for Diversion of Children and Youth with Disabilities from the Juvenile Justice System“. The report is based upon the cases of scores of children with disabilities represented by the nationwide Protection and Advocacy (P&A) System, including Disability Rights Wisconsin.

P&As provide legal and other advocacy services to children and youth with disabilities in the juvenile justice system, and also may maintain a presence in the facilities in which they are found, including prisons, jails, and detention centers. P&As have the legal authority to monitor and investigate allegations of abuse in these facilities.

According to Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics, more than 30,000 children with and without disabilities have been arrested since 2013. However, children with disabilities face harsher punishments and are more likely to enter the juvenile justice population than their non-disabled peers. The report describes the problems children and youth with disabilities encounter when they come in contact with the juvenile justice system.