“Jurisdictions should invest in community-based alternatives to incarceration that improve outcomes for kids while also saving the government money — strategies like offering wraparound services, with focused, individualized care plans, to kids and their families. One such program, Wraparound Milwaukee, works with 1,000 young people with serious psychological needs, 40 percent of whom have been convicted in juvenile court. The program has measurably improved kids’ mental health and school attendance, while reducing recidivism by more than half and saving Milwaukee millions of dollars that would have been spent on juvenile incarceration. The report also points to successful programs built around intensive family therapy and ones that employ “credible messengers” — adults previously involved in the criminal legal system — to serve as mentors to young people.”
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