William H. Barton
The term detention refers to that part of the juvenile justice system that handles youths between the time of their arrest and court hearings. Detention centers are secure facilities intended to hold youths deemed too risky to release during that time period. This article attempts to provide an overview of juvenile detention in the United States. It also addresses a range of questions and issues concerning the use of juvenile detention, discussing the purpose and intention of detention and arguing if it really matches its intended purpose. It also gives information on the number of young people placed in juvenile detention, and the reasons and procedures of them landing there. Furthermore, it describes the consequences of juvenile detention policies and practices for society and for the children who are affected by them. Finally, it poses a question, asking if there is a better way to structure juvenile detention.
A sampling of major scandals and abusive practices has dominated juvenile corrections throughout its history and has become especially pronounced in recent years. These trends contributed to the closures of many juvenile facilities across the nation. This article reviews the forces that led to the decline in the population of juvenile correctional institutions. It begins with the history of the first specialized corrections facilities for young people. The history of juvenile corrections has been plagued with a legacy of abuse, tragedies, and limited positive results. The evolution of juvenile corrections has been an ongoing struggle between advocates for secure congregate care and the reformers who pushed for more community-based solutions for juvenile offenders. Finally, the article presents some observations about policy directions for the future and states that the current status of juvenile corrections is deeply troubled; the future of this enterprise is uncertain.
Jodi Lane and Lonn Lanza-Kaduce
Currently, all states allow juveniles who commit certain offenses to be waived from jurisdiction of the juvenile court to be tried and sentenced in adult criminal court. This essay reviews approaches for housing juvenile offenders in adult correctional facilities (i.e., straight adult incarceration, graduated incarceration, and segregated incarceration) and the special considerations for prison management and service delivery. The essay begins with a summary of the history of juvenile justice, focusing primarily on transfer to adult court and subsequent adult incarceration. Next, a description of the number of youths facing adult punishment is provided. The experiences of youths inside adult incarceration facilities and the effects of transfer to adult court on postrelease recidivism are discussed, followed by a review of individual states’ approaches to housing youths in adult prisons.
Edward P. Mulvey and Carol A. Schubert
The juvenile court was established to separate adolescent offenders from the potentially harmful effects of involvement in the adult criminal justice system. Due to glitches in this plan, there have been mechanisms for transferring particular adolescents to the adult criminal justice system and punishing them accordingly. The debate about the appropriate time and policy to incarcerate these adolescents in adult facilities still goes on. This article, under the person-environment “fit”, explores how the fundamental orientation and the operational realities of the adult versus juvenile system appear to affect young offenders in terms of both their prison experience and their life afterwards. Furthermore, it identifies unique issues of particular needs of adult prisons and jails when dealing with adolescents, highlighting the fact that addressing the issue of what to do with serious adolescent offenders requires more than simple political posturing. Finally, it considers the reentry issues associated with young prison releases.