2020 National State Ratings Report

The purpose of the HRFK National State Ratings Report is to educate the public on what reforms need to take place in order to better align our laws with human rights principles. Share our report with your elected representatives and ask that they pass policies to protect the human rights of kids in the justice system.

How Does Your State
Treat Kids in the Justice System?

The HRFK National State Ratings Report examines 12 categories of law that are vital to establishing a basic legal framework to protect the human rights of kids in the criminal justice system. These categories cover four main areas, including, (1) entrance into the juvenile and criminal justice systems, (2) the treatment of children as adults, (3) conditions of confinement, and (4) release and social reintegration of child offenders. The purpose of the report is to help educate the public and public policymakers on what reforms need to take place in order to better align our laws with human rights principles, including those found in the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The report also aims to inspire policy change by uplifting and celebrating the states that are doing well, while holding states that aren’t doing well accountable for their unjust laws.

Our national map (shown below) highlights the tiered rating of each state with Tier One being the best and Tier Four being the worst. Additionally, we’ve designated the three states with the highest scores as the Best Human Rights Protectors, as contrasted with the six states with the lowest scores that are designated Worst Human Rights Offenders.

Download the full report to learn more.

National Map Overview

Tier One (10+ points): State has created an impressive legal framework to protect the human rights of children in its justice system and has taken its obligation to defend human rights seriously.

Tier Two (7- 9 points): State has passed several laws to protect the human rights of children in the justice system and should take additional steps to improve and implement its burgeoning legal framework.

Tier Three (4 – 6 points): State has made minimal efforts to protect the human rights of children in the justice system and should take immediate action to improve and implement its laws.

Tier Four (1- 3 points): State has made little to no effort to protect the human rights of children in the justice system and is likely in violation of international human rights standards.

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