New Jersey101.5 reports:

Ryan Haygood, the CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, said this latest announcement is a significant step in the right direction.

“New Jersey really is poised to serve as a national leader for transforming youth justice, and for creating an affirmative vision for what youth justice should look like,” he said. “What’s really at issue is creating a system that will better serve our young people who are most vulnerable, and who most desperately need support systems that rehabilitate young people.”

He said despite making important progress in youth justice, there is still a great deal of racial disparity that must be overcome.

“A young black person is 30 times more likely to be incarcerated than a young white person, even though research shows black and white kids commit most crimes at about the same rate,” he said.

He said this latest announcement is part of an effort “to create rehabilitation centers that are smaller, that are cottage-like, that are close to home and familial supports, that are holistic and child-centered, and they’re really imbued with wrap-around services in settings that offer real rehabilitation for our youth,” he said. “For too long the way New Jersey has done youth incarcerations is in a far away setting that is often too remote and too removed from the real supports that young people need. The reality is that familial support is essential to helping young people realize rehabilitation.”