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After six years behind bars, college awaits.

Jalen Mizell, profiled in The Crime Report in November 2017, was sentenced for armed robbery at 14 and locked up in Bon Air Juvenile Correction Center; the state’s only remaining maximum-security juvenile prison. Thanks to an overhaul of Virginia’s juvenile justice system, he left Bon Air with 24 college credits and admission to the Richard Bland College of William & Mary.For the overhaul of Virginia’s juvenile justice system, see Virginia SB 487 (2016).

Advocates praised the overhaul, which provides not only education, but also connection to family and other social services and has become a national model. Despite the state’s reform efforts, persistent racial disparities in sentencing remain there.Karl Herchenroeder, “’I Don’t Want to Go Back to an Institution,’” The Crime Report, November 1, 2017 (noting that black youth in Virginia are still six times more likely to be arrested than white youth and that “[t]hough blacks make up about 20 percent of Virginia’s youth population, they accounted for about 71 percent of all juvenile correctional center admissions in 2016”).