The only thing you have to do is look at the major findings from this 2000 study of juveniles in the jails and prisons of the nation to wonder just how much humanity is left in this democracy. Yes, there are going to be problem children and yes they do need to be segragated from the general public at large.
However, a child is not born bad but made that way. We need to address the problem and not the sympton.
This study represents the most thorough examination to date of the issues presented by youth who are incarcerated in adult facilities. The findings include the following:
Approximately 107,000 youth (younger than 18) are incarcerated on any given day.
Of these, approximately 14,500 are housed in adult facilities. The largest proportion, approximately 9,100 youth, are housed in local jails, and some 5,400 youth are housed in adult prisons.
Of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, 44 house juveniles (age 17 and younger) in adult jails and prisons.
In recent years, the number of youth in jails has escalated, while the number in prisons has stabilized or declined.
The actual number of youth who experience incarceration in an adult prison is much higher than the number known by a 1-day count, with an estimated 13,876 juvenile state prison admissions in 1997. There are no current estimates of the number of youth admitted to jails each year.
In terms of their legal status while incarcerated, 21 percent were held as adjudicated juvenile offenders or pretrial detainees, and 75 percent were sentenced as adults.
Juveniles in Adult Prisons and Jails
Of the 44 state prison systems that house juveniles as adults, 18 states maintain designated youthful offender housing units.
In comparison with the adult prison population, a higher proportion of youth were black (55 percent of youthful inmates versus 48 percent of adult inmates) and were convicted of a crime against persons (57 percent of youth versus 44 percent of adult inmates).
The vast majority of these youth are age 17 (79 percent) or age 16 (18 percent).
Approximately 51 percent of the youthful offender population were housed in dormitory settings, 30 percent in single cells and 19 percent in double cells.
Health, education, and counseling programs were fairly standard, with little evidence of efforts to customize programs for youthful offenders.
A few states operate programs specifically for the most difficult to manage juveniles.