The Annie E. Casey Foundation released No Place for Kids: The Case for Reducing Juvenile Incarceration, which examines the detrimental impact of America’s over-reliance on incarceration of youth in an in-depth analysis of its effect on youth and public safety. Combining research, data and testimony, the analysis shows that America’s reliance on incarcerating young offenders has not only failed to combat youth crime but also that reducing these rates and closing facilities does not increase juvenile crime rates. Juvenile incarceration facilities:
• Do not reduce future offending of confined youth: Within three years of release, roughly three-quarters of youth are rearrested; up to 72 percent, depending on individual state measures, are convicted of a new offense.
• Do not enhance public safety: States which lowered youth confinement rates the most saw a greater decline in juvenile violent crime arrests than states which increased incarceration rates or reduced them more slowly.
• Waste taxpayer dollars: Nationwide, states continue to spend the bulk of their juvenile justice budgets – $5 billion in 2008 – to confine and house young offenders in incarceration facilities despite evidence showing that alternative in-home or community-based programs can deliver equal or better results for a fraction of the cost.
• Expose youth to violence and abuse: Nearly 50 percent of states have been sued in the last decade alone for persistent maltreatment in at least one of their institutions. One in eight confined youth reported being sexually abused by staff or other youth and 45 percent feared physical attack according to reports released in 2010.
The report highlights best practices that some states have implemented as alternatives to incarceration.
For a copy of the full report, press release and issue brief, visit: http://www.aecf.org/noplaceforkids.