Juvenile Detention Makes Teens Worse

There are numerous critics of the juvenile justice system, and while most of their denunciations remain the same as those of the justice system at large, an ample portion of their criticisms revolve around the claim that incarcerating young people not only doesn’t work in deterring or rehabilitating them, but makes them worse and leads to adult misconduct. A report noted that youth sent to juvenile prison were 37 times more likely to be arrested as adults (Szalavitz, 2009). Another major problem some cite with the juvenile justice system is that most delinquent offends have some form of mental illness, and that while studies have shown that mental health treatment would be a better alternative, they are simply ignored or incarcerated (Ramirez, 2008), completely contradictory to the core values of the juvenile justice system which stresses rehabilitation and restitution above all else.

Nevertheless, it is obvious that there are flaws in the system, and how glaringly obvious they may be depends on ones’ perception. A host of various cases show that the state of juvenile justice does not match up with current times and circumstances that differ from the time the system was set in place. Youths now are engaged in severe violent crimes, gang activity, and a multitude of other offense that depict a shift in the social and cultural ambience of the country. With that said, it seems apparent that the system needs to adapt to these current changes, but before that happens (if it ever does) there are many juvenile delinquents that that have been failed by the system in place. One of these people is Quantel Lotts.

Like most kids who grow up in improvised urban areas across the United States, Quantel Lotts was raised in an environment ...

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...e of Justice .

Initiative, E. J. (2007). Cruel and Unusual: Sentencing 13 and 14- Year- Old Children to Die in Prison . Montgomery : Equal Justice Initiative .

Liptak, A., & Petak, L. F. (2011, April 20). Juvenile Killers in Jail for Life Seek a Reprieve. The New York Times .

Lotts, Q. (2012, March 19). tried as an adult and locked away for life at age 14. (E. Pilkington, Interviewer)

National Institute of Mental Health . (2011). The Teen Brain: Still Under Construction . Besthesda : U.S. Department of Health and HUman Services .

Ramirez, F. (2008, April/May). Juvenile Delinquency: Current Issues, Best Practices, and Promising Approaches. GPSOLO .

Steinberg, L. D. (1987). Family processes at adolescence: A developmental perspective. Family Therapy, 77-86.

Szalavitz, M. (2009, August 07). Why Juvenile Detention Makes Teens Worse. Time Magazine.

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