Long commutes, high costs and too much time away from family are among the most common frustration for workers in Virginia. But while those annoyances may be tolerable when it comes to our daily commutes, they have become an unfortunate feature of Virginia’s youth justice system, which confines hundreds of youth in large institutions far from their homes.

When young people have regular visits with their family and other members of the community, they have a much higher chance of being rehabilitated and successfully returning to those communities. Currently, many incarcerated youth in Virginia are held far from their families, unable to stay connected due to high travel costs and restrictive visiting hours. This model, which inhibits regular and therapeutic contact, is untenable, unfair, and counterproductive to our goal of helping young people eventually rejoin their communities and become productive citizens.

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Co-author: Sue Kennon