A recent report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that over the past 15 years, the United States has reached a low in incarcerating youth.
But in Nebraska, it’s been the opposite. Sarah Forrest, with Voices for Children, says youth incarceration is on the rise.
The state currently incarcerates youth at the fourth highest level in the nation.
She says the report shows youth incarceration is ineffective, and says Nebraska needs to find other strategies for keeping communities safe.
"First we need to limit eligibility for correctional placements. We don’t need to be detaining or incarcerating youth who don’t pose a threat to public safety. We are talking low level property offenses, probation violations and those kids that don’t belong in secure settings.”
Forrest says Nebraska needs to invest in alternatives to incarceration and detention, keeping kids close to their homes and communities instead.
She says right now, all of the state’s juvenile funding is tied up in two youth rehabilitation centers.
Forrest says they are a catchall for kids who have different needs, including those who don’t need to be served there.