"No Place for Kids: The case for reducing juvenile incarceration" argues that the practice of locking up youth offenders is not paying off from a public safety, rehabilitation or cost perspective.
The October 2011 report by The Annie E. Casey Foundation finds that juvenile incarceration does not reduce recidivism; within three years of release, up to 72 percent of youth are rearrested, depending on individual state measures. Additionally, juvenile incarceration exposes youth to abuse and persistent maltreatment; one in eight confined youth reported being sexually abused by staff or other youth.
Juvenile incarceration is expensive and causes states to spend the bulk of their juvenile justice budgets -- $5 billion in 2008 -- to confine and house juvenile offenders. Alternative in-home or community-based programs are more cost effective. According to the report, the states that turn to these alternative methods have also seen a greater decline in juvenile violent crime arrests than the states which increased incarceration rates.
A number of states, prompted by budget cuts or abuse scandals, have closed incarceration facilities. The report highlights this trend and suggests how other reform efforts could create a more effective juvenile justice system for the nearly 65,000 U.S. youth offenders confined in correctional facilities.
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