On June 28, 2017, more than 300 people gathered outside the gates of the New Jersey Training School for Boys (“Jamesburg”) to say: 150 years is enough. Close Jamesburg. Close Hayes (Female Secure Care and Intake Facility.)


“On June 28, 1867, Jamesburg opened its doors,” said Ryan P. Haygood, Institute President and CEO. “And on June 28, 2017, we will launch a campaign outside of Jamesburg’s prison doors to declare that 150 years of youth incarceration is enough. We are lifting our collective voices to transform New Jersey’s youth incarceration system into a community-based system of care. We must make sure that our youth receive the rehabilitation they need, so that they can mature and grow into responsible adults. That is not happening in the current system.” 


New Jersey’s juvenile justice system is plagued by extreme racial disparities. Out of the 222 youth who are incarcerated in the state’s three youth prisons, as of January 1, 2017, just 13 are white, despite research that shows Black and white youth have similar rates of offending. 


“We must move to a system where every child is treated like a child, regardless of race,” said Institute Associate Counsel Andrea McChristian, primary author of a report on New Jersey’s juvenile justice system, Bring Our Children Home: Ain’t I A Child. 


Recognizing New Jersey’s youth prison system as a moral stain on our state, several faith leaders will stand outside Jamesburg on Wednesday to declare that 150 years is enough.