News

Study shows troubled teens locked up only leads to more trouble

By October 4, 2011 No Comments

Annie Casey Foundation releases report with decade worth of research showing teens incarcerated are likely to be convicted again. Should troubled teens be given a second chance or serve time? A new report by the Annie Casey Foundation shows that juvenile justice systems are no place for teens. One stunning statistic in the report shows that within three years of release around 75 percent of teen are re-arrested. The study also lists six ways states can do better when treating troubled teens through alternative programs. At the Juvenile Justice Center in St. Joseph County, the director says it’s an idea they already practice to help juvenile offenders. Most teens receive help through the center’s six programs, rather than sent to prison. “If we can help them get the experiences they need now and their families, that’s absolutely best for everyone,” says St. Joseph County’s Juvenile Justice Center Director Peter Morgan. “We’ll continue to make that recommendation and if we need to detain someone, it’s for the safety of that person and community.” One example includes The Crossing, an alternative school for students who have likely been in trouble with the law and been expelled. Students receive more personalized attention in the classroom and are held accountable for their actions. “When students come to us, they do have a feeling of hopelessness,” explains Cory Martin from The Crossing. “Like it’s not worth trying. They haven’t been successful before. But being part of The Crossing is… that when they leave here, they have a sense of hope.” The study ultimately focuses on state institutions. Although at the county level is where teens are given their first chance for rehabilitation before a judge. Sometimes if the crime is too serious that’s not offered. Some alternative programs offered in St. Joseph County include electronic monitoring, home detention, and a transition program to help teens once they are released. Now the center is starting a reading and mentoring program. Studies show higher literacy rates equal a lower crime rate.]]>