Juvenile Prison Reform Yields Results for Once


ABCNEWS.com posted a story about Missouri’s experiment in juvenile justice reform. There have been increasing reports that the juvenile justice system in the United States is causing more harm than good, causing the kids to have more mental health issues and teaching them greater violence, rather than solving their problems and teaching a healthier lifestyle. Instead of producing more law abiding citizens, we have been further destroying the kids that are churned through the system. But – What is the solution?

Their reforms are producing dramatic results due to sensible approaches in treating the kids as persons needing guidance and caring adult supervision, rather than as hardened criminals to be only punished and whipped into submission.  They have a 10 % recitivism rate versus the 40 % found at most juvenile prisons.

I propose that a rethinking of adult incarceration programs along these lines, particularly for drug-addicts, the mentally ill, and non-violent felons, would produce similar dramatic improvements in recitivism and decreased costs.

“Recent reports about abuse of juvenile inmates have renewed calls for a national overhaul of a juvenile justice system that includes nearly 100,000 children.

At Waverly Regional Youth Center in Missouri, the boys are taught to settle their disagreements with words, not fists. Any person can call a “Circle”, meaning everyone stops whatever they are doing and they work on the issue.

In Missouri, a different method for juvenile prisons has seen surprisingly successful results, trading in the orange uniforms and cell blocks for therapists and dorm rooms.”

 http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/missouris-juvenile-justice-system/Story?id=8511600&page=1

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