Juvenile justice: defenders plead for community-based rehabilitation

David Harrington spent a tense eight months in a Philadelphia prison when he was a teenager – following a 2014 theft charge that automatically sent his case to the adult court system under state law. State.

Only 16 at the time, he said he struggled and spent time in isolation. He missed his second year in high school and the birth of his child. He faced 5 to 10 years in prison. He was on the right track, he said, toward more trouble with the law.

“I think if I had stayed in the adult system I probably would have come back a little worse,” said Mr Harrington, now 24, who works as a young offender advocate. “I would have come home [after] listen to ways to get better at some illegal things, and I would have come home and done some stupid things.

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