Essay On Mass Incarceration

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Mass Incarceration: Trapped Juveniles in the U.S. Detention Facilities Our youth is facing, at this day and age, an abuse in the U.S. justice system. Doctor Christopher Allen Mallett, a professor at Cleveland State University whose research and scholarship focus has been juvenile delinquency among others, shares in his article “The incarceration of seriously traumatized adolescents in the USA: Limited progress and significant harm.” Mallet notes, “Outcomes from incarceration of young people in the USA are poor. Incarceration does not decrease future adolescent crime, and the experience of it is itself part of the problem” (Mallett 4). Instead of a positive outcome from detaining juveniles, it only harms their mental development, for they are still maturing in their cognitive development, social development, as well as intellectually. Because minors are still so immature, they do not know how to handle stressful situations, which makes them prone to suicide. Because criminal codes were amended, juveniles are now being tried as adults, making minors easy targets for other prisoners. We cannot continue to ignore the injustice that is happening to our youth. Placing adolescents in a detention facility is a violation cruel punishment. Additionally, juveniles who are confined in adult detention facilities are at even greater risk of their safety and well-being. Instead of reducing crime, the act of incarcerating our youth causes a negative effect on their lives, and adding to U.S. high incarceration rates. Adolescence is a period of essential growth, and its development is influenced by the environment and its social surroundings. According to Mallett, “In addition, time spent in prison or prison-like facilities harm adolescent develop... ... middle of paper ... ...s for possessing or selling illegal drugs-crimes that go largely ignored when committed by while youth” (Alexander 222). Adolescents can be locked up for offences that are not considered crimes, such as truancy, underage drinking, running away and curfew violations. Even more troubling are the technical violations such as, not following court orders, probation expectations or declining to attend school. Only 25% of young offenders have committed a violent crime such as, murder, sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated assault. Once adolescents are trapped in the juvenile justice system, it is almost as if it makes of a lifestyle from youth delinquency to incarceration. That is why separating our youth from their families and communities is often more dangerous by placing them in violent, aggressive and dangerous environments such as detention facilities.

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