At-risk youth in the United States are being locked up without a key. The city streets are always churning out new opportunities to ruin the life of a kid living in tough circumstances. Many different kinds of young people end up in our prison system—from various educational, racial and geographical backgrounds—but undereducated minorities are the most likely to end up jailed. African-American between the ages of 18 and 24 face an average imprisonment rate of 3,148 of every 100,000. In contrast, whites of the same age face an average rate of 463 per 100,000—that’s six times less. This news may not come as a surprise, unfortunately, but it’s important to be aware of the scope of this problem.

That’s why Elizabeth Calvin of Human Rights Watch is so excited that California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill last month to help young jailed offenders. Assembly Bill 1276 will create committees to consider whether each entering prisoner under the age of 22 could be placed in a lower-security prison with better access to educational and self-help programs than found in higher-security facilities. Calvin told Truthdig that there are a total of about 20,000 18-, 19- and 20-year-old inmates in California alone, and certain rules in the state’s prison system force them into maximum-security prisons. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog