Posts Tagged by juvenile delinquency
|March 22, 2012||Posted by M. P. under Juvenile Delinquency, Policy, Research||
This week the Supreme Court began hearing arguments on the constitutionality of sentencing juveniles as young as 14 years old to life imprisonment without parole. As of 2009, 2,589 inmates serving life without parole sentences in the United States were less than 18 years of age when they committed their crime, 17 percent of them in Pennsylvania.
An infographic from Amnesty International displays additional descriptive data on juveniles sentenced to life without parole, including the fact that for nearly 60 percent of the sample, the sentence was given for their first criminal conviction.
If you are interested in learning more about this subset of the prison population, The Lives of Juvenile Lifers: Findings from a National Survey by Dr. Ashley Nellis of The Sentencing Project is an excellent examination of the environment, history and nature of the crimes committed by youth currently serving sentences of life without parole. Findings include, histories of exposure to violence, physical and sexual abuse, racial disparities in sentencing, and the inability to attend prison programming due to lifer status. A complete copy of the report is available at The Sentencing Project website.
This report, in addition to the headlines around the current Supreme Court case and the memory of the travesty in Luzerne County, have only crystallized for me the complete transformation of the juvenile justice system from one created to reform a system characterized by harsh punishments and little distinction between youth and adult offenders, to the punitive one operating today.
|December 7, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Children and Family, Juvenile Delinquency, Policy, Research||
Not too long ago the juvenile justice system in Pennsylvania came under severe scrutiny after a shocking scandal involving the violation of the rights of juveniles in Luzerne County (including monetary kickbacks to judges from private detention centers). More recently, the issue of maltreatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender juveniles in juvenile detention have drawn media attention as reports of such abuse increase.
The report No Place for Kids: The Case for Reducing Juvenile Incarceration by Richard A. Mendel from the Annie E. Casey Foundation illustrates the high cost but low return of the current juvenile justice system in the United States. Researchers found little evidence of increased public safety or reduced recidivism among juveniles after release detention, although the cost of incarceration to taxpayers was just under $90,000 per youth, per year.
Highlights from the report include,
- within 3 years of release, approximately ¾ of juveniles were rearrested;
- few juveniles are confined for serious offenses – in 2007, 12 percent of the nearly 150,000 youth adjudicated to residential programs by courts had committed aggravated assault, robbery, rape, or homicide;
- while there was a 24 percent reduction in juveniles sent to residential facilities or secure institutions between 1997 and 2007, this did not result in an increase in the juvenile crime rate during that same period (it decreased);
- recurring abuse or maltreatment was identified and documented by state and/or federal government or media investigation in 20 states since the year 2000.
According to report data, the number of youth in juvenile detention in Pennsylvania increased 15 percent, from 3,120 in 1997 to 3,618 in 2007, while the national total decreased by 25 percent from 75,406 to 60,426 during the same time period. Information about the juvenile justice system in Pennsylvania may be found at the Pennsylvania Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission website.
|October 19, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Juvenile Delinquency, Policy, Program Model, Research||
Findings from the Pathways to Desistance Study out of the University of Pittsburgh, one of the largest current collaborative longitudinal studies in the United States to follow juveniles post-adjudication, indicate that youth offenders tend to decrease their level of criminal behavior over time, no matter the intervention applied. In the brief, Highlights from Pathways to Desistance: A Longitudinal Study of Serious Adolescent Offenders, principle researcher Edward P. Mulvey discusses other key findings of the study including,
- less drug and alcohol use and a higher level of stability in daily life are factors that differentiate serious juvenile offenders who have stopped offending from those who continue criminal behavior;
- recidivism is not reduced by sentencing juveniles to longer terms in institutions;
- in the short term, drug and alcohol treatment does reduce substance abuse and criminal activity.
|October 4, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Health, Research, Youth Development||
A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that nearly 70 percent of high school students in the United States do not get an adequate amount of sleep.
Data from the 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey indicated a majority of teens did not get the amount of sleep recommended (8 hours or more), particularly on school nights. Insufficient sleep was linked to reduced levels of physical activity, computer use of 3 hours or more daily, and feelings of despair. High-risk behaviors such as alcohol, marijuana and cigarette use were more likely in students who received less sleep than their peers.
A summary of the study, Relationships between hours of sleep and health-risk behaviors in US adolescent students by Lela R. McKnight-Eilya, Danice K. Eaton, Richard Lowry, Letitia Presley-Cantrella and Geraldine S. Perry is available at the Science Direct website.