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Press Release: National Juvenile Justice Network Released Shut Down Sequel Progress Report

April 28, 2021

Contact Information:
National Juvenile Justice Network
Courtney McSwain


***For Immediate Release***

National Juvenile Justice Network Released Shut Down Sequel Progress Report

New Report Examines Actions Taken in the Year After the Death of Cornelius Frederick at a Sequel Facility

[Washington, DC, April 28th, 2021] — Today, the National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) released a new report, Shut Down Sequel Progress Report, one year after they called for states to shut down facilities run by Sequel Youth and Family Services in the wake of the killing of 16-year-old Cornelius Frederick.

On May 1st, 2020, Cornelius Frederick tragically passed away due to injuries from being restrained for 12 minutes after throwing a sandwich.  His senseless death shed light on a pattern and practice of harmful restraint and abuse at Sequel facilities, serving as a larger call to action to shut down Sequel facilities and implement systemic changes.  

Nearly 330,000 people signed a petition to state governors calling for states to cut ties with Sequel.  “Our report found that as a result of the yearlong effort, six facilities are no longer run by Sequel and an additional five states have ended contracts to place children in the company’s custody,” said NJJN’s Executive Director Ricky Watson.   

Yet Sequel continues to operate similar residential facilities in twelve states and the systemic issues that led to Fredericks death remain largely unchanged.  While the report doubles down on the call for states to end ties with the for-profit company, it underscores the need for larger change. 

“Closing Sequel facilities is a great first step, but we must examine the system that allows Sequel to flourish.  It is time to shift from short-term fixes to long-term solutions.  We challenge states to do what is best for kids and not only bring them home but keep them there,” said Watson. 

“We know there are better ways to serve young people.  States across the country have implemented pieces of the solution.  We know we can serve youth without relying on for-profit companies.  We know we can care for youth without reliance on harmful and deadly restraint tactics.  We know youth are better served in their home communities.  It’s time we invest in these policies that work,” said Alyson Clements, Director of Membership and Advocacy at NJJN. 

To that end, the report calls on states to end the use of for-profit facilities for youth, ban the use of youth restraint, and bring youth home, prioritizing community-based care over harmful congregate care settings. 

To learn more about the Shut Down Sequel campaign and to read the progress report, visit:
>>Shut Down Sequel Progress Report 
>>NJJN Campaign to End For-Profit Youth Prisons


The National Juvenile Justice Network leads a membership community of 60 state-based organizations and numerous individuals across 42 states and D.C. We all seek to shrink our youth justice systems and transform the remainder into systems that treat youth and families with dignity and humanity. Our work is premised on the fundamental understanding that our youth justice systems are inextricably bound with the systemic and structural racism that defines our society; as such we seek to change policy and practice through an anti-racist lens by building power with those who are most negatively affected by our justice systems, including young people, their families and all people of color. We also recognize that other vulnerable populations - including LGBTQIA+, those with disabilities and mental illness, girls and immigrants - are disparately and negatively impacted by our justice systems, and thus we also seek to center their concerns in our policy change work.

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