HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Youth advocates from across Pennsylvania are calling on lawmakers to take urgent action on juvenile justice reform.

This comes after a hearing on the topic but some argue that all voices were not heard.

“In order to survive this system that’s trying to destroy you, you literally become an animal, you have to be desensitized by so much,” Andre Simms said.

Simms was locked up at the age of 17 and says he was introduced to things no young person should experience such as depression, addiction, and even suicide.

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“It felt like I was trapped in a situation that I had no control over and I wanted to end it,” Simms said.

He’s not alone and that’s why at the State Capitol steps, leaders with the Care, not control campaign are pushing lawmakers to listen to young voices and to protect them from inhumane conditions in the juvenile justice system.

“The issue among these prisons is they’re created to incarcerate the youth but the question is, what is the alternative?” Amara Coles said.

“Another young person that’s just like me can get that same opportunity to give back and help the community but they don’t have the opportunity, if you don’t offer that opportunity how can they strive? How can they grow than what they are as a person? That’s why we got to plant the seed for these young people because they are the new generation,” My Le said.

“We owe young people that, like these are children when are we going to take responsibility when is the institution going to take responsibility to heal our young people?” Simms said.

Campaign leaders say children should be treated like children and more investments should be made into communities to keep youth from committing more crimes.