Juvenile Detention: The Solution or The Problem Behind Offenses by Youths?

Juvenile detention costs New York City taxpayers $200,000 per year per youth. In dollars.

There are other, social costs. Juvenile detention may be viewed as the proverbial fork in the road, where young people are more likely to veer off on the path toward a life of repeat offender crimes.

The alternative to juvenile detention, community-based counseling and probation programs, costs substantially less. In dollars. And in social costs. It reduces recidivism.

But New York State’s policies incentivize confining youths in juvenile detention centers rather than community programs. To the tune of reimbursing the city fifty (50%) percent of the costs of detention.

Reimbursement of community-based programs? A whopping zero (0%) percent. Zip.

What’s wrong with that picture for our children?

What has Florida’s juvenile justice system learned from studies such as this?

What can it still learn from its juvenile justice system as laboratory?

Read more in this New York Times editorial: Juvenile Detention Trap.