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October 4, 2011

Big new report assails juvenile incarceration as ineffective

NoPlaceForKids_cover_200x223 As detailed in this press release, a big new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation concludes that incarcerating "juvenile offenders in correctional facilities, which costs states a yearly average of $88,000 per youth, is not paying off from a public safety, rehabilitation or cost perspective." Here is more about this report (available here), which is titled "No Place for Kids: The Case for Reducing Juvenile Incarceration," from the press release:

The report concludes that there is now overwhelming evidence that the wholesale incarceration of juvenile offenders is a failed strategy for combating youth crime because it:

Does not reduce future offending by confined youth: Within three years of release, roughly three-quarters of youth are rearrested; up to 72 percent, depending on individual state measures, are convicted of a new offense.

Does not enhance public safety: States which lowered juvenile confinement rates the most from 1997 to 2007 saw a greater decline in juvenile violent crime arrests than states which increased incarceration rates or reduced them more slowly.

Wastes taxpayer dollars: Nationwide, states continue to spend the bulk of their juvenile justice budgets – $5 billion in 2008 – to confine and house young offenders in incarceration facilities despite evidence showing that alternative in-home or community-based programs can deliver equal or better results for a fraction of the cost.

Exposes youth to violence and abuse: In nearly half of the states, persistent maltreatment has been documented since 2000 in at least one state-funded institution. One in eight confined youth reported being sexually abused by staff or other youth and 42 percent feared physical attack according to reports released in 2010.

The full 50-page report and a helpful four-page Issue Brief are available in pdf form here and here.

October 4, 2011 at 09:41 AM | Permalink

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Comments

As the pendulum swings...

Haven't we determined that juvenile offenders have become increasingly violent at earlier ages and tend to be among the most prolific criminal age groups?

Even these youthful offenders are often beyond our limited ability to rehabilitate.

The only responsible sanction to ensure public safety is a period of incarceration.

The fact that 3/4 of youthful offenders are convicted of new crimes within three years only reinforces the public's need for incapacitating these thugs.

Posted by: mjs | Oct 4, 2011 11:02:48 AM

hmm maybe we could use the 20 billion a year or more we spend on illegal and useless sex offender ligislation and confinment over violations of illegal laws. especialy since after 20 years of studies their reoffence rates even with NO treatment are like 5-15% during the first 3 years!

could lock up a lot of little twirps with that kind of cash!

Posted by: rodsmith | Oct 4, 2011 5:29:19 PM

@ MJS

Who is the "we" that determined that?

Posted by: Huh? | Oct 6, 2011 4:11:51 PM

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