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August 19, 2008

NY Times editorial on juves in adult prison

Today's New York Times has this editorial, headlined "Some Progress on Kids and Jails."  Here is how it starts:

The number of minors being held in adult jails and prisons in this country has dropped substantially, according to a new study based on federal data.  That’s welcome news.  Criminologists warn that juvenile offenders who are thrown in with adult prisoners are exposed to social pressures and develop personal contacts that make it far more likely that they will become career criminals than those held in juvenile facilities.

The study, by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, a California-based nonprofit, shows that the number of minors being held in adult facilities has decreased by 38 percent since 1999. Because of reductions in juvenile crime and arrests, among other factors, the number of children held in juvenile facilities also fell.

Congress can consolidate these gains by using aid to impose a clear federal standard: To qualify for federal juvenile-justice funds, states should have to certify that people under 18 are not being jailed as adults, except in cases involving heinous crimes like rape and murder.

Sounds like a good idea to me.

August 19, 2008 at 06:24 AM | Permalink

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