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Re-Examining Juvenile Incarceration

"A growing body of research demonstrates that for many juvenile offenders, lengthy out-of-home placements in secure corrections or other residential facilities fail to produce better outcomes than alternative sanctions. In certain instances, they can be counterproductive. Seeking to reduce recidivism and achieve better returns on their juvenile justice spending, several states have recently enacted laws that limit which youth can be committed to these facilities and moderates the length of time they can spend there. These changes prioritize the use of costly facilities and intensive programming for serious offenders who present a higher risk of reoffending, while supporting effective community-based programs for others" (p.1). Sections of this brief include: overview; out-of-home placements do not improve outcomes for most youth; most Ohio youth supervised in the community have lower recidivism rates; evidence does not support longer lengths of stay; longer stays do not yield consistent reductions in juvenile recidivism; high cost to taxpayers, poor return on investment; daily costs at secure juvenile facilities exceed those of other common sanctions; voters prioritize rehabilitation and recidivism reduction; votes care less about whether or how long juvenile offenders are incarcerated than about preventing crime; and states put research into action-limiting out-of-home placements, and moderating length of stay.