[ View the story "Children behind bars" on Storify] Children behind bars How does the justice system treat America's youngest offenders?
The Stream· Mon, Oct 21 2013 10:58:45
The Campaign for Youth Justice
that in the last eight years, 23 US states have enacted 40 pieces of legislation to reduce the prosecution of juveniles in adult courts and end their placement in adult jails.
The United States has the
rate of youth incarceration in the world with an
70,000 juveniles in prison on any given day.
Youth Incarceration Comparsion of USAJstreamTEST
US imprisons children at more than 6x's the rate of all developed nations. 60,000+ daily juvenile lockups
#ApartheidOccupy Wall Street
The United States spends about
on juvenile detentions, even though reports show that it is more
to rehabilitate youths through alternative means.
Cost of Youth IncarcerationAJstreamTEST
Although there are many community-based alternatives to incarceration for youth, there are six that have been rigorously evaluated and have been shown to reduce recidivism, improve life outcomes for youth, and save taxpayer dollars. These include Multi-Systemic Therapy, Functional Family Therapy, Aggression Replacement Training, Family Integrated Transitions, Coordination of Services, and Victim Offender Mediation.20justicepolicy.org
Many question the rationale behind this practice:
@AJStream gives them a phd in criminality and reassurance among peers that they are unjustifiably punished. #horribleideaKathryn B
@AJStream JCFs waste taxpayer dollars, frequently expose youth to violence & abuse, don't enhance public safety & no end to future offendingalhaji chodi
It costs an average of $80,000 a year to incarcerate a juvenile in the United States! Why do we put up with this...
Shocking photos exposing juvenile detention in America.The US spends more than $5 billion annually on youth detention.
Equal Justice Initiative
reports that about 3,000 children have been incarcerated without possibility for parole. Among these are children as young as 13 years old, who are being tried for serious crimes such as murder, kidnapping and rape.
Some claim that sentencing teenagers to life sentence without parole is cruel and unconstitutional.
@AJStream the justice system is unjust; racist, ineffective in curbing crime, counterproductive & public unprotected from violent offendersalhaji chodi
Bryan Stevenson on Life Without Parole: Juvenile Justice | MacArthur Foundationmacfound
Many have been calling for young offenders to be held in juvenile facilities and to be tried in juvenile courts.
@AJStream if they are classified as juveniles then they shouldn't be put through a system of a different classification.Alieeeson Megatron
@ajstream Classification matters. Minors for minors, adults for adults.Chibuzo C. Ejike
Sentencing 13- and 14-year-old Children to Die in Prison July 2010ejiorg
Others online feel that if children commit adult crimes, they should be subjected to serious punishment:
They must serve in solitary confinement with hard labour. Serious crimes are serious & their punishment must fit their crimes.facebook.com
@ajstream If a crime commited by a juvenile is of adults magnitude, why the punishment of a juvenile magnitude?Naseer
when you decide to commit crime you are no longer minorfacebook.com
@AJStream For violent or sexual crimes, yes and that is to be fair to the victim of the crime.Akemi Mokoto
Y not? If they can do adult crimes thn should be ready for Adult justice system too,,,coz if they get away,,thats like encouraging youth to indulge into crimes thinking if 1 can get away thn so can they.facebook.com
The Stream community suggested alternative ways to prevent children and teenagers from committing and repeating offences:
@AJStream Counseling is an easy way out and probably isolating them from their peers in juvenile homes (with appropriate care) could do tooAbdussalam Amoo
@AJStream how about rehabilitation? Prison breeds recidivism. It doesnt only have to be about punishment; you can teach in there as well.Osman Noor
@AJStream Minors have not reached an age of rational thinking in whatever they do. Discipline and education is what they need #Juvenileshimawari
@AJStream, it starts with a relationship. I am starting a program for at risk inner city kids who don't have a soft place to land.Hollywood