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Making History: The End of Youth Incarceration and Juvenile Hall in SF

Updated: Aug 22, 2022

youth protesting with signs
Our young people and staff joined other SF youth on the steps of City Hall to make their voices heard.

Have you heard about San Francisco’s Juvenile Hall closure, slated for 2021? Read the Guardian’s coverage of this historic event, which will make San Francisco the biggest US city to close the doors of its juvenile hall. Plummeting crime over the past 20 years, locally and nationally––as well as an evolving body of research on the long-term negative effects of isolation and incarceration on young people––has led many to question the logic of maintaining expensive-to-operate facilities that are operating at only 1/4 capacity and cost $300,000 per youth served.

Youth advocates and community-based organizations like Sunset Youth Services and the Juvenile Justice Providers Association see the need for dramatic reform and envision a more positive way forward with home-based confinement, rehabilitation, and wraparound services that can help disrupt cycles of violence and incarceration and have real potential to heal and build stronger communities and families.

Watch SYS leadership give 1-2 minutes of public comment below at the Board of Supervisors meeting on 5/17/19, sharing their experiences and support for the juvenile hall shut down:

Learn more about the historic board of supervisors meeting preceding the successful vote to close Juvenile Hall on June 4, 2019: (The Juvenile Hall Closure takes up the first 1hr. and 39 minutes of the meeting, starting at 18:12 and ending at 1:39:11 in the recording.) It provides a fascinating look at how local government works and, in particular, highlights the critical role of Supervisors in championing causes like this one for a more humane and just society.


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