General Question

Aster's avatar

Is Juvenile Hall useful or a waste of time for wayward boys?

Asked by Aster (15577 points ) March 9th, 2014

If a sixteen year old is taken and stuck in juvenile hall (juvie) to live for months with other boys of his type do you think he’ll change his fighting, stealing, weed smoking lifestyle when he is released?

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7 Answers

ibstubro's avatar

Juvenile hall is basically the same as a jail in that it’s designed to hold offenders until their case is settled, or for short term incarceration. There will likely be counseling of some type, but I don’t think the expectation is for reform.

A juvenile correctional facility is akin to the adult version of prison.

I have worked in a juvenile detention center, and they are often worst than a waste of time. They allow the kids to brag on their bad behavior and get positive reinforcement for other bad kids. There are also many bad tips passed on, like how to beat a rap and how to stash drugs, etc.

hearkat's avatar

I don’t have much first-hand experience, but our penal system for youth and adults is far from ideal. These people have gone astray from our society’s values for one reason or another, and are sent to a place where most of the people they are interacting with have also gone astray. This environment is not conducive to any sort of rehabilitation for the offenders. They make ‘connections’ and exchange stories about how unfair life and the system are, and how glorified a criminal lifestyle can be.

If someone is genuinely remorseful when entering prison, and truly wants to turn their life around, it is difficult for them to find support and they may even get harassed by the more hardened criminals for being soft. You have to blend in, at the very least, in order to survive. For juveniles, there may be somewhat more resources available to them to get an education or perhaps learn some trade, but the kids going in there usually have such a big chip on their shoulders that they aren’t about to utilize those options.

Paradox25's avatar

In my opinion trapping normally decent kids (and even adults) who made a mistake or two in an environment with truly bad people does not benefit society, considering that most convicts or delinquents will eventually be released. This system of punishment does not rehabilitate offenders, but tends to make them worse.

Coloma's avatar

I agree with everyone above. Taking an angry, rebellious kid and housing him with other angry rebellious kids in an authoritarian environment is, most likely, going to make them even MORE angry and rebellious. I think a wilderness boot camp or ranch experience is a much better “re-hab” situation.
Give them meaningful work duties, exercise, counseling and in an environment where they can gain life experience, overcome challenges, and learn healthy coping skills.

Aster's avatar

@Coloma that was a beautiful answer. As long as the kids are being very carefully supervised since you can’t trust them alone for a second.

ibstubro's avatar

I felt sorry for the kids, and when it was really nice out, I’d ask to take them over to a basketball court nearby. They could shoot hoops or just take advantage of the sunshine. Of course, a couple of times one ran away. I think it freaked me more than the management, but I’d wait until we had an entirely different bunch before I tried that stunt again. The other employees just thought I was naively nuts, but I figured that burning off some energy was the best thing for all of us.

wildpotato's avatar

Given the issues raised above plus the 10% chance of being raped by staffers or fellow detainees – no, not even close to useful.

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