As a society, we all want safe neighborhoods and prosperous communities. To achieve these goals, however, we need to redesign our juvenile justice systems.
Currently, our juvenile justice system is like a maze that does not have a way to get in and out. A lot of youth, no matter how they enter the juvenile justice system, get on a path that leads straight to secure custody, with no way out. We know that other routes must be made available — like those that lead to mental health services, addiction services, or services that help youth mature into responsible adults — and that these must be made into two-way paths, so that youth can get where they need to go in the most effective and efficient way possible. If we do this, we can improve outcomes, and achieve safer neighborhoods for everyone.
A longstanding and growing body of research shows that pre-trial detention and post-adjudication incarceration for youth can have extremely negative ramifications for the youth's ability to get back on the right track. Youth prisons and detention facilities have been shown to be dangerous, ineffective, and unnecessary. Community-based supervision programs for youth both cost less than confinement and provide increased rehabilitative benefits for youth. This brief tip sheet will describe a few fundamental characteristics of community-based supervision programs and will summarize their average costs.