Juvenile incarceration leaves kids worse off

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  • Beaver Native Garland, UT
    June 26, 2013 9:18 a.m.

    Dr. K,

    Agreed. The study didn't reveal anything that logic would not have indicated. Those who are incarcerated have usually been repeat offenders who have been progressing from lesser offenses to greater offenses; the kind who don't learn from their mistakes. When it comes to teens, it's usually the hardened repeat offenders who are locked up. The problem with the study is that it ignores the fact that those who are locked up are usually the ones predisposed to not responding to rehabilitation and who are more likely to become repeat offenders, while those who are not locked up are more likely to be those who will respond well to rehabilitation.


    Incarcerated teens are usually not locked up for minor offenses. They are usually repeat offenders or those who have committed heinous crimes.

    While I agree that punishment is not always the best deterrent and that rehabilitation should be the goal, sometimes it is necessary to protect the public by removing the threat.

    Instead of researching things we already knew and drawing false assumptions, the researchers would have been better off trying to find a more effective method that both protects society and rehabilitates.

  • Allisdair Thornbury, Vic
    June 25, 2013 10:49 p.m.

    Why are we surprised? Who would think it is a good idea to mix vulnerable badly behaved children together and think they would turn out well. Whilst they are locked up they will be brutalized by the system and taught all the tricks of the trade.

    This is why it is foolish to lock people up for minor offences.

  • Dr. K Salem, UT
    June 25, 2013 10:47 p.m.

    This study shows correlation, not causality. The juveniles that were incarcerated no doubt committed worse crimes than those that received other punishments, or were repeat offenders. So the study simply shows that juveniles who commit harsher crimes while young have lower success rates when older. It just doesn't say anything. Brad Plumer writes, "Juvenile detention appeared to be creating criminals, not stopping them." There's absolutely no way you can say that via a study like this. The problem is when people read this and conclude, "We would do these kids a favor if we didn't have juvie." That may or may not be true, but this study doesn't show it.