Chapter Seven KIDS IN THE BIG HOUSE: JUVENILESINCARCERATED IN ADULT FACILITIES
Kids in the Big House:Juveniles Incarcerated in Adult Facilities One response to the “get tough” attitude toward serious juvenile offending is the transfer into the adult system, where juvenile offenders would receive a more severe punishment and deterrence has a greater likelihood of being achieved Juveniles are transferred into the adult system by one of three types of waivers: Judicial waiver Prosecutorial waiver (also known as direct file) Legislative waiver (also known as statutory exclusion) Judges can also offer blended sentences, which impose a mix of juvenile and adult penalties, such as transfer to an adult facility when the offender reaches a specific age If transferred into the adult system, juveniles are generally eligible for the same types of criminal sanctions as any adult defendant, such as confinement, which could include life without the possibility of parole Currently, the only sentence juveniles are ineligible for is the death penalty (Roper v. Simmons (2005))
Juveniles in Adult Correctional Facilities In a 2003 sample of 40 urban counties, 64% of juveniles who were convicted in adult criminal court were incarcerated in either prison or jail In 1997, approximately 7,400 persons under the age of 18 years were admitted to state prisons (more than doubling from 3,400 in 1985) and another 9,100 juveniles were held in jails Of the juveniles admitted to state facilities in 1997, the vast majority (97%) were males; about one-quarter were White non-Hispanic, 58% were Black non-Hispanic, and two percent were identified as Other About 95% of juvenile offenders admitted to adult facilities in 1997 were 16 or 17 years old; only five percent of the juveniles admitted were 15 years or under 28% had a level of education of eighth grade or less 61% had been convicted of violent offenses, followed by property crimes (21%), drug offenses (11%), and crimes against the public order (5%) Three trends influence the number of youth in adult prisons: The likelihood of receiving a prison sentence The length of the prison sentence received The actual time served while incarcerated The average time served in 1997 was 44 months
Difference Between Juvenile and Adult Facilities The Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention Act of 1974 (JJDPA) required that juveniles offenders who are being processed in the juvenile justice system must be separated (in sight and sound) from adult offenders A 2000 study found that 43 states and the District of Columbia incarcerated juvenile offenders in adult jails and prisons – of these 44 jurisdictions, 17 states and D.C. had separate housing units for juvenile offenders Juveniles may be held with adult inmates if the segregated housing area is overcrowded Even if juveniles are housed separately from adult inmates, they may still be exposed to adult inmates when receiving services in the institution Juveniles experience the same pains of imprisonment as adult inmates, such as the deprivations of liberty, autonomy, security, heterosexual relationships, and goods and services Relatively little is known about the daily lives of juveniles in adult facilities and even less is known about the correctional experiences of female juvenile offenders
Victimization Daily survival is a major concern for youth serving time in adult institutions, sometimes being forced to demonstrate their toughness by engaging in verbal or physical displays of aggression Juveniles are at a higher risk of physical, sexual, and economic victimization in adult prisons About 9% of the juveniles in adult prisons reported bring physically assaulted by an inmate compared with 6.8% of those in juvenile placements 32.1% of juveniles in these facilities reported the use of a weapon in an attack, compared to 23.7% of youth confined in juvenile facilities Theft of property (48.1% vs. 44.1%) Destruction of personal property (18.5% vs. 16.9%) Surrender of property by force or threat of injury (18.5% vs. 15.3%) 9% of juveniles in adult facilities reported being a victim of an attempted sexual assault or rape compared with 1.7% of the residents confined in juvenile placements In 2005, 21% of cases of sexual violence involved an inmate victim and an inmate perpetrator in jails; in 2006, 13% of cases involved a victim who was below the age of 18 years
Victimization Physical consequences of victimization can include injury or the transmission of life-threatening diseases Emotional consequences include anxiety, fear, depression, shame, anger, mood swings, phobic reactions, difficulty concentrating, or flashbacks Being fearful might lead to future victimizations because it shows a weakness to other inmates Juveniles try to adapt to prison life by conforming to inmate culture, learning the customs, the prison slang, adopting the personalities and behaviors of adult inmates, and maintaining a low profile In order to avoid victimization and increase their status in the prison community, juveniles learn to rely on their “street smarts” or shrewdness to obtain power and respect, sometimes relying on inmates of the same race or ethnicity to provide protection Sometimes they even deny the possibility of being victimized, using it as a coping mechanism
Relationships with Older Inmates Not all adult inmates present a threat to juvenile offenders Some jurisdictions place juvenile offenders with older inmates because it is believed that they will exert a calming influence on them These interactions could produce positive effects on the juveniles’ behavior and mental well-being Acting as a mentor, adult inmates teach them necessary life skills, such as hygiene, and help them adjust to incarceration One danger is the negative influences adult inmates can have on them, including providing them with new knowledge about committing crimes or avoiding detection
Relationships with Staff Members There is not a lot of interaction between inmates and officers, except when officers give orders Rather, they focus on their responsibilities of maintaining the security of the facilities Juveniles in adult facilities tend to view correctional officers negatively, using terms such as “mean or apathetic” and “hostile and derisive” Juveniles believe staff members see them as nothing more than criminals who are incapable of change Correctional officers are claimed to humiliate juvenile offenders and provoke them into acting out to punish them Staff members see juveniles as more difficult to handle than adult offenders and would prefer not to be assigned to juvenile housing, describing the juvenile housing unit as chaotic, disorderly, and difficult to manage There is concern that officers who want to work with juveniles are motivated by ulterior or illegitimate reasons, such as sexual interest
Programming and Services Not all jurisdictions provide programming specifically designed for young offenders As a result, they are treated the same as adults in regard to housing, healthcare, education, vocation and work programs and recreational activities Special programs for juveniles include diet and nutrition, family counseling, career training, prison survival training, special education programs, alternatives to violence programs , drug and alcohol counseling, GED classes and college courses Only a few programs are designed and offered specifically for females: anger management, substance abuse, Girl Scouts and gang awareness Many youth in adult jails sleep in excess of 15 hours a day and do not have access to educational programming Juveniles in the adult system are less likely to become involved in educational programs
Correctional Health In 1998, the rate of suicide for juveniles confined in adult jails was 2,041 per 100,000, compared to the suicide rate of 57 per 100,000 for residents in juvenile detention facilities Jailed individuals under 18 years of age had the highest suicide rate at 101 suicides per 100,000 inmates (2005) In adult facilities, prolonged periods of isolation that can occur to increase the safety of offenders may actually increase the risk of depression, suicide or worsening mental health conditions Juveniles in adult facilities expressed dissatisfaction with their access to health care and the quality of care received, resulting in them treating the conditions themselves or relying on their parents’ advice to remedy the condition Some are reluctant to discuss sensitive issues and hesitant to disclose mental health issues for fear of being put on medication
Disciplinary Misconduct Juveniles confined in adult facilities have an average of 14.4 disciplinary violations, as compared to 7.8 for juvenile facility residents Juvenile offenders who were incarcerated prior to 17 years of age were more of a disciplinary problem than young adult offenders who were 17-21 years of age when they were incarcerated (1989) Juvenile offenders have higher rates of violent or potentially violent misconduct than comparison groups of adult offenders Younger juveniles (13-15 years of age) are more violent and disruptive than older youth (16-17 years of age)
Community Reentry Juveniles in the adult system typically perceive their attitudes and behaviors as having little or a negative change as compared to those housed in juvenile facilities Juveniles in adult facilities also express little confidence in their abilities to be law-abiding in the future Juveniles who are sentenced as adults are more likely to recidivate – 58% reoffended in the 2 years following their release compared to 42% of juveniles who stayed in the juvenile justice system Also more likely to recidivate in a shorted period of time, to commit serious or violent offenses and to recidivate more often Inmates 14-17 years of age when released from state prisons have higher percentages of re-arrest, re-conviction and re-incarceration If convicted of a felony, juveniles lose the right to vote, to enlist in the military, to own a firearm, to be on a jury, to serve in public office, are unable to receive federal financial aid for education, and may be restricted from being offered certain jobs in the future
Conclusion A small percentage of offenders under the age of 18 years receive sentences of life or life without parole Of those sentenced when under the age of 18 years, 78% are expected to be released prior to their 21st birthday The majority of juvenile offenders sentenced and incarcerated as an adult will reenter society at a young age The adult incarceration experience will impact the social and psychological functioning of youth and may influence future offending Incarcerating juveniles in adult facilities is largely negative and counter-productive to rehabilitation The incidences of physical, sexual and emotional victimization and the rates of suicide are higher for juveniles in adult facilities
A particular slide catching your eye?
Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.