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Growing Up Behind Bars: Confinement, Youth Development, and Crime

NCJ Number
Journal of the Oklahoma Criminal Justice Research Consortium Volume: 3 (August 1996) Issue: Dated: Pages: 29-41
C S Taylor
Date Published
13 pages
This article explores the net impact of confinement on youth age 16 and younger and proposes a research plan to further study the issue.
Child development and juvenile justice experts agree that, in theory, youth should not be treated in the criminal justice system in the same manner as adults. Juvenile corrections facilities should provide a setting for establishing positive relationships that encourage the healthy development of young offenders. However, rehabilitation does not often enter into the current juvenile justice process in the manner that theory suggests, and the literature reveals that juvenile incarceration has not been particularly successful in producing better young citizens. In fact, the environment within a juvenile facility may actually foster criminality. The article suggests a participatory approach to evaluation and youth program enhancement to identify: the role of youth development theory in the vision of existing programs and in program practice; gaps between theory and practice; plans for narrowing the gap; and youth outcomes associated with these program changes. Notes, table, references