Thursday, August 27, 2009

What works

Want to know the #1 reason why I oppose treating juvenile defendants like adults? (Well, other than the whole it's insane to treat children like adults thing...) It doesn't work. Know what does work? Structure, guidance, education, counseling, and team sports. In other words, rehabilitation. Missouri seems to have found a very successful way to reach troubled youths and put them on a path towards becoming a valued citizen, towards college, towards a hopeful future. Missouri doesn't warehouse kids or give up on them. They do their damnedest to fix kids, which is the right, moral thing to do. It's nice to have verification that it's also the sensible thing to do.

Now, it pains me tremendously to acknowledge that anything good can come out of Missouri (except for you, Lovin' Spoonful), but the Missouri Model for juvenile detention seems like what should be the gold standard for the rest of the country to follow. According to the article, other states are following it. Maybe, just maybe, we're starting to break through a little. Maybe people are beginning to understand that insanely long prison terms for kids (and for adults) isn't doing us any good. In fact, it's counter-productive. It actually is in our long-term best interests to take a little time to try to rehabilitate young people who commit crimes. I guess it can just be a bonus that the financially-sensible thing to do also happens to be the right thing to do.

1 comment:

Molly said...

Well, every so often Missouri can get one or two things right. I agree about trying kids as adults, as in kids aren't adults and shouldn't be tried as such. I admire Missouri's model for juvenile detention. Especially when you look at studies that show only 10% or so of them re-offend.

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