PJC In The News

Keeping youth out of adult jail

From the Audacious Ideas blog of the Open Society Institute-Baltimore

By Camilla Roberson

November 21, 2011: Maryland automatically charges youth as adults for certain offenses and detains them in adult jails pretrial, before any finding of guilt. These practices don’t work to reduce crime or rehabilitate youth:

  •  Youth in adult jails are at greater risk of harm from other inmates and guards, are more likely to be beaten, physically or sexually assaulted, or raped, and are at high risk of suicide.
  •  Charging youth as adults doesn’t deter or prevent youth crime. Youth charged and prosecuted in the adult criminal justice system often re-offend more often and more violently than youth tried and punished in the juvenile system for equivalent offenses.
  •  The majority of youth charged as adults ultimately return to the juvenile system or the community, but only after they’ve spent on average 3-6 months in adult jail, exposed to the associated harms and risks.
There’s an alternative that would mitigate these effects. Instead of sending a youth to an adult jail, place him/ her in a juvenile justice facility.
 
Read the full article: Keeping Youth Out of Adult Jail
 


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