A new poll released today by Youth Justice New Jersey shows that nearly 85 percent of people in New Jersey believe the youth justice system should focus more on prevention and rehabilitation, not incarceration and punishment. Youth First, a leading national advocacy organization working to bring an end to youth incarceration, commissioned the poll, which was conducted by GBA Strategies.

“There is no dispute that New Jersey’s youth prisons are a failed experiment—a moral, fiscal, social and racial justice, and public safety failure. These powerful poll numbers demonstrate that people in New Jersey recognize that we must invest our collective resources in a community-based system of care, not in youth prisons,” said Ryan P. Haygood, President and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice (the Institute). The Institute is the convening organization for Youth Justice New Jersey—a growing coalition of approximately 50 state-based organizations, advocates, parents, formerly-incarcerated youth, and faith leaders committed to transforming New Jersey’s juvenile justice system.