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Our state urgently needs youth justice reform. Florida prosecutes more children for felonies in the adult criminal justice system than any other state. Last year, more than 900 kids were sent to the adult criminal justice system. Almost all of the children prosecuted as adults are transferred to the adult system at the sole discretion of prosecutors, without a judge’s input, through a process called “direct file.” There is no way for a child to appeal this decision.
Funneling children into the adult system often cuts children off from critical age-appropriate education and intervention services, and it is not good for public safety. Many children prosecuted as adults are charged with nonviolent offenses and are not a threat to public safety.
It's time for us to reform the way we treat children in our justice system.
This legislative session, language to end mandatory direct file and add judicial review to discretionary direct file is contained in the Florida First Step Act. Join us in urging legislators to pass the Florida First Step Act and keep children out of adult prisons and jails.
Take action below!