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More Evidence that Juvenile Incarceration Must be Meted Out Carefully

| September 27, 2011

Incarceration is a central component of the criminal justice system, and for many offenders, incarceration is the only appropriate response. It is not, however, appropriate for every offender—and this principle rings especially true for non-violent juvenile offenders.

Last week, Dr. Ashley Nellis of the Sentencing Project provides further evidence that incarceration must be carefully deliberated before being included in a sentence for a juvenile. According to Dr. Nellis, the collateral effects of incarceration include disclosure of sensitive information, exclusion from public schools, impairment of college admission opportunities, fewer job opportunities, eviction, and in some cases, life-long placement on sex offender registries.

These collateral consequences of incarceration are in addition to one of the direct consequences of incarceration—that when applied in cases where it is unnecessary, it is less effective at reducing recidivism and rehabilitating offenders, and more expensive for taxpayers.

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