Juvenile Incarceration Not Paying off, Study Says

The nation's prosecutors should follow New York's example by sending more juvenile offenders to rehabilitation programs close to home instead of locking them up, a new report indicates.

Bart Lubow, who led the study for the Annie E. Casey Foundation and directs the foundation's Juvenile Justice Strategy Group, said New York is sending more young offenders who haven't committed serious crimes to family-based intervention programs.

Putting young offenders in correctional facilities, he said, isn't paying off.

"It results in extraordinarily high recidivism rates, exposes youth to abuse and violence and does little, if anything, to enhance public safety," Lubow said. 

Over the past decade, New York City has reduced the number of kids it sends to upstate facilities by more than 60 percent, according to New York City's Probation Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi.

At the same time, he says, the number of serious felony arrests for city juveniles has declined by more than 25 percent.

"What some of these new programs have shown is that you can actually have it both ways," he says. "You can put kids in good community-based programs and achieve public safety, and that, of course, is the most important thing for the Bloomberg administration."

The mayor's goal is to get all but the most violent young offenders from New York City out of those upstate facilities and manage their cases locally.