Young adults, particularly those aged 18 to 25, face unique challenges within the criminal justice system, often overlooked in policymaking due to their age. The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s “Thrive by 25” initiative aims to change that by focusing on strengthening communities for children and youth transitioning into adulthood.
In a nation grappling with the consequences of the decades-old “war on drugs,” a startling reality emerges: youth with substance use disorders (SUDs) are caught in a cycle of addiction, crime, and incarceration. The justice system, ill-equipped for rehabilitation, perpetuates this cycle, with SUD sufferers four times more likely to reoffend upon release.
What this cautionary tale of separate and unequal education ought to teach us is that without careful forethought and attention, parents and schools can knowingly (or unknowingly) foment education inequities. However, when carefully crafted public policy includes a call for a pluralistic education system that is grounded in the diversity found within the American public, and also importantly, in freedom of conscience, school choice policies can provide better education options for every child.
This article is one in a series examining the unique challenges that emerging adults – those ages 18 to 25 – face when they come into contact with the justice system. We hope this series illuminates the different angles of this issue and expands our public vision of how to seek justice for individuals and communities in this critical period of life.
Expungement, or the destruction of criminal records, is a critical measure in restoring young adults to society at the end of a criminal sentence. Why is this process so rare, and what can we do in response?