The Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors has voted to stop negotiations to provide land to the state to build a new youth prison.
Valerie Slater, Esq., RISE for Youth Executive Director, released the following statement in response to the vote:
Tonight’s vote was a win for Hampton Roads’ most impacted youth, their communities, and for the people of Isle of Wight County. We know that youth have a better chance to thrive when they are able to receive the support and care of their families and communities. A better approach to youth justice starts with rejecting the old model, which is based on remotely-located facilities that isolate youth and just don’t work. Tonight, we are hopeful that local and state leaders will continue to engage with and listen to their communities, who overwhelmingly support rehabilitation over incarceration.
In March, a poll conducted by survey research group GBAO showed a majority of Virginians prefer keeping young people out of prisons and in community-based alternatives that emphasize rehabilitation rather than punishment. The survey found that in Virginia, 87 percent support increased spending on youth rehabilitation and 86 percent support providing financial incentives for states and municipalities to invest in alternatives to youth incarceration, such as intensive rehabilitation, education, job training, community services, and programs that provide youth the opportunity to repair harm to victims and communities.