New focus leads to lower numbers of incarcerated juveniles

New focus leads to lower numbers of incarcerated juveniles

For many people in Wisconsin and throughout the country, the teenage years are a time to relax and be a little wild. Teenage decisions may not always lead to tragedy, but in many cases, bad decisions may ruin the lives of several teenagers who never intended to do harm. Punishment for juvenile crimes has been a highly debated topic throughout the country, and many are concerned with the approach lawmakers take to these offenders. Laws have run a wide range over the last few decades, and supporters of juvenile offenders may be encouraged by recent statistics.

After the number of juvenile offenders who were incarcerated reached an all time high in 2000, organizations and lawmakers struggled to change requirements to more accurately represent research on adolescent development and the teenage brain.

Since new programs were implemented in what are referred to as the “Comeback States”, there has been a decline in the number of teenage arrests. Between the years 1985-2000, youth detention numbers increased by 63%, and since that time, have decreased by close to 40% throughout the country. Credit is given to new solutions in these states that are based on evidence and research.

Experts claim there is still work to be done, and that incarceration of teenagers is expensive and taxing on each individual state. Regardless of the offense, any juvenile facing charges for a crime may benefit from consulting an attorney regarding their case. New solutions may have made it possible for juvenile offenders to become functioning members of society, even after committing a serious crime.

Source: Huffington Post, “Making a comeback for kids,” Sarah Bryer, July 25, 2013