Searching for Justice for Juveniles in America: Are There Lessons to be Learned from the United Kingdom?
This paper suggests that if the U.S. continues its existing detention-heavy approach to juvenile justice, it will fall short of its social and criminal justice goals. Instead of deterring youth offenders, adult imprisonment increases the recidivism rate by exacerbating the same poverty issues that tend to influence child criminality in the first place. Essentially, the criminal justice system produces counter-rehabilitative effects in juveniles. A child enters a prison, but leaves as an adult—often an adult with a more developed criminal mind who is then released back into his community. This paper ultimately points out that the U.S. should espouse the U.K.’s approach, and that adult imprisonment is not the answer for juvenile offenders because the harshness and poor outcomes do not contribute to the majority of its social and criminal justice goals. [From Introduction]