The National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) recently released its newest research summary, The Truth about Consequences: Studies Point Towards Sparing Use of Formal Juvenile Justice System Processing and Incarceration. This NJJN Factsheet reviews recent studies on the juvenile justice system that show formal system processing doesn't reduce delinquency and that incarceration is ineffective—in fact, get tough approaches actually do more harm than good.
The PA juvenile justice system is embracing this “What Works” philosophy in its new Juvenile Justice System Enhancement Strategy (JJSES). The JJSES State Leadership Team, Workgroup, and county Juvenile Probation Offices are partnering to ensure that court practices improve outcomes for youth, victims, and the community.
The opening of the NJJN Factsheet states:
Recent research on the juvenile justice system indicates that in nearly all instances, the best public safety outcomes coincide with the least restrictive interventions for youth, rather than more traditional processing and incarceration. Studies from the Campbell Collaboration and Dr. Edward P. Mulvey and his colleagues starkly demonstrate the negative effects of formal juvenile processing as compared to diversion, and the ineffectiveness of incarceration. These studies reinforce the deleterious effects of incarcerating youth, both in terms of youth health and individual outcomes, as well as the broader negative impact on public safety and harm to society. Such costly incarceration of youth contrasts sharply with diversion programs and community-based alternatives, which, when done right, cost less and reduce recidivism.
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