Should teenage offenders be incarcerated?
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Should teenage offenders be incarcerated?

On Behalf of | May 23, 2021 | Juvenile offenses |

Helping guide teenagers to make good decisions later in life is not always easy, but it is always worthwhile. However, there are mixed opinions about how to best accomplish this. In Washington, some teenagers who make mistakes are punished via incarceration while others face less severe consequences. According to research, incarceration could actually exacerbate any problems with which teenage offenders are already struggling. 

Is juvenile incarceration worth it? 

A recent study found that sentencing juvenile offenders to prison does not reduce the chance of them being convicted for violent crimes when they are adults. In fact, the study actually shows that incarceration as a teenager actually increases the chances of being convicted for drug related crimes later in life. The researchers did note that incarceration does seem to lower the chances of committing property crime later in life, although any benefits are canceled out by the increase in drug convictions. 

Juvenile incarceration can be traumatizing 

That same study also found that former teen offenders tend to be convicted for crimes related to drug use rather than sale. This is largely because life in prison puts an enormous emotional toll on youth. The study determined that incarceration early in life contributes to: 

  • Stress 
  • Stigma 
  • Substance abuse 

It can be difficult to watch one’s child face the possibility of incarceration. Unfortunately, this is the reality that some teenage offenders in Washington are currently facing. Parents who are interested in learning more about their options for helping their child through this difficult period of time may find it helpful to speak with an experienced attorney.