Connecting Youth to Care
Young people often come into contact with the criminal justice system as a result of normal adolescent behavior, such as taking risks and pushing boundaries. Due to institutional racism and implicit bias, this happens more often for Black and Brown youth through the over-policing of communities of color, racial profiling, and disproportionate minority sentencing. The isolation and stigma surrounding criminal justice system involvement create additional barriers preventing youth and young adults from achieving their full potential. Protective factors, such as participation in positive youth development programs and connection to caring adults, can create safe and supportive environments for youth that prevent and reduce contact with the criminal justice system.
The Imagine Justice Project is a collaborative Pierce County effort to strengthen youth development and advance equitable, community-centered justice systems. One of the primary strategies of the Imagine Justice program is to leverage AmeriCorps volunteers to build the capacity of local organizations to provide culturally responsive, trauma-informed positive youth development programs, and services.