Youth lockup costs too much

The Justice Policy Institute (JPI) founded in 1996 is a policy and research non-profit "dedicated to ending society's reliance on incarceration and promoting effective and just solutions to social problems." Their web site offers reports on such issues as juvenile justice; books vs. bars, and drug policy.

Released March 23, 2006, a JPI report discusses the Models for Change states (pdf, 116KB) which "have created incentives to reduce reliance on incarceration and institute sanctions and services in the community." The model states are: Pennsylvania, California, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Illinois.

In answering why it might matter how many youth are sent to state institutions, the report finds:
  • Most youth involved in the juvenile justice system can safely be managed without secure confinement.
  • State imprisonment is expensive, and it is not cost-effective to send youth to state institutions who do not need to be there.
  • Juvenile confinement reduces the chance that troubled youth will successfully transition to adulthood.
  • The costs and impact of state secure confinement is not borne equally by all young people, or all communities.
Cost-Effective Youth Corrections-Rationalizing the Fiscal Architecture of Juvenile Justice Systems - By Jasmine Tyler and Jason Ziedenberg
(available in pdf, 2.1MB, from JPI)


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