CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, May 26, 2008

Young Criminals Need Guidance, Not Jail

So, what's it really like inside a youth detention center?

Mario Chavez spent his teenage years in and out of juvenile hall. After he was convicted as an adult at 17 for Second Degree Murder, he spent over 8 years in prison.

Today, he works as a youth mentor with Pioneers for Peace, an organization working to curb youth violence. [Mark Godsey]

Listen to "Young Criminals Need Guidance, Not Jail"

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Yes, minors and young defendants need training, mentoring, an encouraging environment and rehabilitation rather than to be thrown in jail and forgotten by society. The entire theory of beging "tough on crime" is a joke when it leaves 15-year-olds to spend ten or twenty years in prison because a gang was the only place they could fine people who cared about them. What kind of message are we sending to the youth when we punish them in a way that says they're "damned if they do, and damned if they don't?"

Posted by: Joe | May 27, 2008 8:04:18 AM

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