Keeping kids out of jail: new report shows progress on alternatives

Number of Utah youths held behind bars drops by 20%

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  • nhsaint PETERBOROUGH, NH
    March 9, 2013 9:11 a.m.

    It is easy to assume that knowledge of the societal norms of "right and wrong" is the only element necessary for making good decisions. While it is true that a five year old- or a sixteen year old - may know what is considered acceptable behavior, most situations that arise are much more complex than merely choosing the right or wrong behavior. They involve the use of emotions, which in 50% of 16 year olds are processed entirely in the amygdala, or "fight-or-flight" area of the brain (regardless of whether it is a fight-or-flight situation). Even under low stress, young people actually do not think rationally, in the way that an adult does (as stated in the article, at around 21 years the brain is finally able to process emotions in the neocortex, or reasoning portion of the brain). Many emotional stresses arise in a young person's decision-making process that contribute to poor choices. This really does need to be taken into consideration, not as an excuse for the behavior, but as a reason to work with these youth to help them understand themselves better so they can become good, productive citizens.

  • JBQ Saint Louis, MO
    March 7, 2013 11:14 a.m.

    The problem with the juvenile system is an antiquated view of what the problem really is. The juvenile system was designed to protect the family. In our society, the family structure has been breaking down for quite some time. Juvenile offenders have been engaging in more and more violent crime at a younger and younger age. The "one size fits all approach" is just no longer viable. Crime in the African-American community has skyrocketed. There are complex reasons why based on a socio-economic model. However, there is a definite ethnic link to types and models of crime. The answer would appear to be the strengthening of the black family. However, schools in the black community are becoming more and more based on a democratic model instead of one that is more disciplined with influence from African-American religious ministers. Instead, there has been a concerted effort to link the radical feminist movement with African-American democratic freedom within the minority school strucutre with such as Michelle Rhee. This is an "oil and water" approach that is doomed to failure.

  • SLC gal Salt Lake City, UT
    March 7, 2013 10:04 a.m.

    I am SO sick of hearing "their brain isn't fully formed" excuse. That's what it is. An excuse!!! At 5, you essentially have an idea of what's wrong and what's right. You know going to school is good, stealing is bad... .etc.. It doesn't take a college degree!!!

    Bravo to the court system though for decreasing the rate of youth offenders. Maybe dereasing that is where you start to see a decrease in the adult prison population.

  • Harley Rider Small Town, CT
    Feb. 27, 2013 5:24 p.m.

    These kids and young adults where put in prison , jails , detention homes , foster homes etc because tax payer monies where spent and I'm talking Billions and who benefited ? The insiders benefited. But now them taxpayer coffers have been depleted so no money for these institutions.

    Many people have said - why in the hay would you send an innocent child to a juvenile detention home - O, so that they can get the education to become real criminals and that's exactly what happens.
    Our prisons are full of citizens who's only crime - growing,smoking,having in their possession a common weed. Course the Judges , Lawyers , Prison Corporations , Local , State , Federal agencies and Governments can justify their means whilst collecting their payola, keeping this sham up and running.
    Bill Clinton proved our justice system is a joke and has nothing to do with what the citizens want and deserve -it's all about the money

  • glizz Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 27, 2013 10:14 a.m.

    Unfortuately Utah is not a participant in the Anne E. Casey Foundation that is quoted in this article. Not sure why it was referenced in this article because Utah is not involved at all! The people who monitor this site would not let me put the direct link to the foundation's website. I encourage everyone to visit the site!