Youth First Initiative

Leading state campaigns to transform the juvenile justice system

Grantee Cohort Spring 2018, Spring 2020

Location National

Launched in 2015, the Youth First Initiative is a national advocacy organization that designs strategies and leads campaigns in states with the goal of closing youth prisons and redirecting resources to community-based alternatives to incarceration. In partnership with state-based organizers, Youth First creates a model for reducing incarceration that builds on past successes, overcomes opposition, and can be replicated across the country.

Youth First Initiative (YFI), dedicated to ending youth incarceration and increasing community-based investment in the success of young people, is building on its high-impact campaigns, including those to successfully close or prevent new youth prisons from being built in Connecticut, New Jersey and Virginia. YFI will use Art For Justice Fund support to accelerate reforms to dismantle the youth prison model by closing youth prisons, reducing the incarceration of youth, and redirecting resources to community-based alternatives to incarceration.