By Brian Heller de Leon
Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice
A March 2011 study through the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) concludes that long-term juvenile incarceration does not decrease reoffending, and may actually increase recidivism rates for lower-level youth offenders. Researchers conducted more than 21,000 interviews over 8 years with more than 1,300 felony offenders ages 14–18 in the cities of Philadelphia and Phoenix. Researchers also interviewed parents and peers and examined arrest records.
Their findings and recommendations are very illuminating, especially in light of California’s current debate over the future of the Division of Juvenile Facilities, the state’s youth correctional facilities: