In communities across the nation, police are the first to respond to a mental health or social crisis. This is especially true for Black and Latinx youth, who during a time of crisis are too often met with law enforcement instead of a trained mental health professional. This practice has resulted in the criminalization of countless youth, exacerbated existing mental health symptoms, and contributed to the creation of a school-to-prison pipeline. We demand the removal of law enforcement from institutions meant to serve our youth and call for an investment in community mental health services that will allow young people to develop and heal.
- Historically, law enforcement and the criminal legal system have been the primary institutions to handle mental health issues, particularly for people of color.
- 14 million students are in schools with a police presence, but don’t have a single counselor, nurse, psychologist, or social worker.
- Both the child welfare and juvenile legal systems disproportionately institutionalize Black children, removing them from families and communities.
We must divert youth away from interactions with law enforcement that put them at greater risk for arrest, institutionalization, and separation from their families and communities. We call upon our policymakers today to take action.
Join us in demanding the decriminalization of our youth. Send a message directly to your Senators and Representative.