The Analysis of Juvenile Justice System Essay Example

In the “No Place For Kids” report readers are enlightened on the realities of the American Juvenile Correction system. Around “60,500 of the United States youth are confined in correctional facilities” each year. There are many different facilities in juvenile correction including “group homes, residential treatment centers, boot camps, wilderness programs, or country-run youth facilities. But the largest share of committed youth are held in locked long-term youth correctional facilities.” The U.S. one of the very few countries that incarcerates the youth, in most countries they do not incarcerate minors. “Mass incarceration of troubled and troublemaking adolescents in neither inevitable nor necessary in a modern society.”

These long-term facilities run by the state, government, or a private firm are said to be “prison-like” with isolation cells, locked cells, and barbed wire fences. There has been multiple studies showing that youth incarceration has not “reduced the criminality of troubled young people.” It seems that no good is coming from these facilities, it does not benefit or better our youth and multiple reports of abuse and violent activity have occurred inside the walls of these facilities.

One of the most recent studies was to discover what tactics could be used to combat the rate of crime in minors. After three decades of research they concluded that “incarcerating minors was counterproductive to public policy.” They found that a small few of minors were

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actually dangerous enough that incarceration was necessary, and that many other cases could be

worked out through councilors, therapists, or if need be a type of parole to check up on their minors making sure they are on the right path. In most states across the Unites States they are beginning to decrease the amount of minors in correctional facilities. Dr. Barry Krisberg the president of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency was quoted saying “We have to recognize that incarceration of youths per se toxic, so we need to reduce incarceration of young people to the very small dangerous few. And we’ve got to recognize that if we lock up a lot of kids, it’s going to increase crime.”

There are six main flaws in our correctional institutions across the nation they include “(1) dangerous, (2) ineffective, (3) unnecessary, (4) obsolete, (5) wasteful, and (6) inadequate.”

Dangerous refers to the accounts of violence and abuse. Ineffective refers to the juveniles future success in education and employment are very low due to recidivism. Unnecessary refers to the “percentage of youth confined in youth correction facilities that pose minimal risk to public safety.” Obsolete refers to the multiple studies showing other treatment options for juvenile offenders rather than incarceration. Wasteful refers to the thousands of taxpayer dollars devoted to running these facilities, when evidence shows there are better options for our youth. Lastly Inadequate refers to the failure to properly care for and provide the correct treatment for the confined youth. It is expected that most states will reduce the amount of minors in confinement, and work to find better treatments for juvenile offenders. Hopefully this approach leads to a lesser need for juvenile incarceration.

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Juvenile correction facilities have been called dangerous for almost fifty years now with the first documented report of abuse in 1970. Since then there has been reports of abuse, violence, sexual assault, and excessive isolation. In these four decades there have been 57 lawsuits in the United States for the maltreatment of minors.

“Widespread physical abuse and excessive use of force by facility staff” has cause major issues in these facilities. Between the years of 2004 through 2007 there were “13,000 reported claims of abuse.” In a nation wide study on sexual abuse in correctional facilities “more than 3,000 young people had been victimized by staff or other inmates in their facilities.” Excessive use of isolation has been reported against correctional agencies for decades now. Ohio had the highest rating of intense isolation with inmates reported spending almost “50 hours in isolation per resident.” Other major reports have been of violence among the inmates, and “frequent violence against the staff.” Knowing all of the dangers of these facilities how is one to learn and grow in an environment like this.


In the past there was not many treatment options for juvenile delinquents besides these correctional facilities. After years of research and studies it was proven that councilors and people who were there for the youths to talk to and address the issue at hand worked lightyears better than placed in this prison-like environment. It is called “therapeutic intervention philosophy”, and it helps build social skills, work through family problems, and better prepare them for life outside the facility. Where as the typical strategy use in juvenile correctional

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facilities is the “scared straight” method, which was proven to increase the rate for violent

activity inside these facilities and when the minors are back out in to the real world.


“Despite their exorbitant daily costs, most juvenile correctional facilities are ill-prepared to address the needs of many confined youth. Often, they fail to provide even the minimum services appropriate for the care and rehabilitation of youth in confinement.” Many of the adolescents in juvenile corrections suffer from mental health conditions. Weather it be “depression, a learning disability, or an out-of-control substance abuse addiction,” these children are suffering and these facilities are not prepared to care for them.

In a recent study it was said the “three of every ten youth confined correctional facilities had, on at least one occasion of attempted suicide.” A large percent of these minors have had some sort of traumatic experience weather it happened to them or they witnessed it. These children need an outlet a safe space or trusted adult to help them work through their issues, because the treatment they are receiving right now is not bettering them in any way it is most likely hurting them more.


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