While justice mandates that the process of direct file must be reformed, there are youth waiting in jails across Florida who need help today. These kids are subjected to solitary confinement, which has devestating mental health impacts on fully matured adults, and struggle to get the most basic education. These kids haven't been found guilty. Their cases are even sometimes dropped - but not before their lives are irretrievably altered.
It doesn't have to be this way. Local officials and organizations can work collaboratively to ensure we do minmal harm in the name of public safety. Potential mitigating reforms include:
- Bail reform to allow low-risk juveniles to be supervised in the community, regardless of their ability to pay.
- Policies of rotating schedules to allow juveniles with no contact orders time with other youth.
- Policies prohibiting the use of solitary confinement or limiting the time spent in solitary confinement with required mental health evaluations and counseling when it is deemed necessary.
- Policies requiring the provision of adequate educational services for all juveniles held in jail.
- Provision of services, including mentoring, counseling and occupational training, for youth held in jail.