October 20, 2014
Many things fall through the cracks in life, but when it’s a young person, no length is too great to go to find them.
Tragically, our state is filled with far too many youth who have fallen through every possible crack in society and now sit incarcerated, some in solitary confinement—“the box”—a five foot by seven foot cell with a metal or plastic bunk, thin foam mattress, toilet, and sink. Confined for up to five consecutive days or ten days per month. Permitted to leave for just 30-40 minutes every other day to shower. No books, no pens, no paper, no educational or recreational items.
No contact with the outside world save for legal counsel—legal counsel that has now become their lifeline.
The Rutgers Juvenile Post-Disposition Advocacy Project is reaching into the cracks and doing for New Jersey’s incarcerated youth what no other program is doing: giving them a voice.
For the teenage boy injured through violence in prison, the Project may not be able to heal his injuries, but it can ensure he sees a doctor. For the girl suffering the pain of a broken childhood, the Project may not be able to undo the pain, but it can ensure she receives psychological treatment. For the youth being denied access to due process as a result of systemic failures in the juvenile justice system, the Project may not be able to erase past injustices, but it can ensure that injustice is exposed and the rights of incarcerated youth protected.
Because our youth are too important to let them fall through the cracks, the Community Foundation of New Jersey is proud to support the work of the Rutgers Post-Disposition Advocacy Project.