Why the U.S. juvenile justice system needs serious reform


From The Diamondback:

“In A&E’s infamous show, Beyond Scared Straight, “at-risk” kids with major behavioral problems are thrust into adult prisons for a day to literally scare them into never wanting to see the inside of a jail cell again. Once at the prisons, they are spat on, temporarily enclosed in holding cells and given the rundown of prison life. And these one-day interventions are just the beginning. The juvenile justice system that serves these kids — often unfairly — is a disturbing, glaring mirror of the already unkind world of the American justice system. It shouldn’t be this way. The juvenile justice system needs a serious reform, and the biggest change must be preventative. It needs to take place in the communities the system caters to the most — poor, impoverished neighborhoods where the youth are susceptible to crime.

On any given day, the Campaign for Youth Justice reports that there are 70,000 juvenile offenders in detention facilities, correctional facilities, group homes or shelters across the nation. Only one out of every four confined adolescent in 2010 committed a violent crime, according to The Annie E. Casey Foundation. Although primarily established to steer kids away from the criminal courts and give them more rehabilitative assistance, the juvenile justice system is failing our kids.”

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