The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) works to build awareness of and end the root causes of the Cradle to Prison Pipeline® crisis and youth incarceration. We champion effective youth violence prevention and intervention programs that help young people at every point of their involvement in the system — ranging from prevention efforts to divert youths from entering the system by creating alternatives to imprisonment, to supporting youths’ transition back into the community after a period of confinement.
The juvenile justice system resides near the end of the Cradle to Prison Pipeline crisis, where the intersection of poverty and race puts a Black boy born in 2001 at a one in three lifetime risk of going to prison, and a Latino boy a one in six lifetime risk of the same fate. Nonetheless, the juvenile justice system provides a critical opportunity to intervene and help get children on a more positive track toward college, productive work and successful adulthood.
CDF advocates for the humane and rehabilitative treatment of all children in the juvenile justice system, and ultimately, for systemic reform at the local, state and federal levels to ensure children receive fair and appropriate treatment that can prevent them from coming to the attention of the juvenile justice system in the first place.