March 16, 2021

CSG Justice Center Releases Analysis on Structural Barriers Caused by Juvenile Records

A first-of-its-kind analysis from The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, Reducing Structural Barriers to School and Work for People with Juvenile Records, examines education- and employment-related barriers in 12 states that affect people following their involvement with the juvenile justice system.

People with a juvenile record can face legal barriers—imposed through state statute or employers and postsecondary institutions—that prevent them from continuing their education, earning credentials, and obtaining meaningful employment. And these consequences even apply to people who committed a minor offense, such as trespassing, or a status offense—acts that are illegal only when committed by juveniles—such as truancy or breaking curfew.

While statutes in the studied states acknowledge the difference between juvenile adjudications and adult criminal convictions, the CSG Justice Center found that state policies don't effectively distinguish between the two and are often undermined by vague language, explicit exceptions, and a lack of clear criteria. This is particularly evident in consideration of "good moral character" or "fitness" requirements for a particular job or license that often lack guidance for how decisions will be made, and thus, could include a consideration of juvenile records.

The center also is hosting a live event open to the public, including study presentation and panel discussion, on Wednesday, April 21st from 1-2 pm EDT. Registration for the virtual event is available here.