Dr. Tyra Seldon: Studies Show that Sending Kids to Prison Turns them Into Criminals as Adults

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By Dr. Tyra Seldon

Mass incarceration not only destroys the lives of adults, but according to a recent study, it creates a perilous future for young people who are incarcerated.  The study examined 35,000 people from Chicago who had committed crimes as youth. Researchers, Anna Aizer of Brown University and Joseph Doyle, Jr. of MIT, compared two groups—youth who went to jail because of their crimes and those who did not.

The results were alarming. According to Zack Beauchamp (thinkprogress.org):

“After developing [a] random sampling technique, and controlling for confounding factors like race and sex, Aizer and Doyle compared the imprisoned and non-imprisoned kids along two lines: high school graduation rates and adult incarceration. Unsurprisingly, going to jail as a kid has “strong negative effects” on a child’s chance to get an education: youth that went to prison were 39 percentage points less likely to finish high school than other kids who from the same neighborhood. Even young offenders who weren’t imprisoned were better off; they were thirteen points more likely to finish high school than their incarcerated peers.

More surprisingly, given that prison is supposed to deter crime, going to jail also made kids more likely to offend again. Young offenders who were incarcerated were a staggering 67 percent more likely to be in jail (again) by the age of 25 than similar young offenders who didn’t go to prison. Moreover, a similar pattern held true for serious crimes. Aizer and Doyle found that incarcerated youth were more likely to commit “homicide, violent crime, property crime and drug crimes” than those that didn’t serve time.”

The idea that jail criminalizes some young people rings especially true in areas where alternatives to jail time, such as community service and peer courts, are sparse. Further complicating the problem is the fact that some youth are incarcerated for first time offenses, minor infractions and otherwise non-violent crimes.

When young people drop out of school and become a part of the criminal justice system, it adds greater fuel to the school-to-prison pipeline. They enter the criminal justice system as youth offenders and unfortunately, too many return to their communities as adult criminals.

 

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8 comments

  1. We are a Dead race of people who need to be reminded of whate the Devil (creepy white cracker) is doing to us everyday to us. And we are standing there letting him do it.

  2. I don’t understand why they wasted time and money on doing a study when everyone knows that the laws are designed to incarcerate vast numbers of so called Black people.

  3. This continues to be old news that Amos Wison and other black scholars have wrote books and did lectures on this.

    The ? is now what is black people going to really do about it ?
    Marching,praying and singing protest songs is not moralizing the people who have this updated slave plantation operation in full effect.

    How about a massive movement to deprogram from this brainwashing of being turned into a criminal?
    How come nobody will come out with that agenda.
    The programming and brainwashing is creating the mental illness.
    How about black’s finally rise to a new liberation paradigm of thinking and intelligence?

  4. See this is the new Jim Crow Law!! It is designed to in slave the black and brown men!!!! They are going after the illegal immigrants next!!! For these prisons are big business now in America… You also can buy stock for these types of prisons!!!! For more details Google The New Jim Crow Law and watch the video is an hour and ten min but great information that we as African American need to know!!!

  5. I undertand that many people are aware of the problems of the criminal justice system. Juveniles are at high risk of being adult reoffenders. The juvenile justice court system and detention facilities must offer programs to rehabilitate our young people from: mental health services, education/academic support programs,and job training programs.
    Recently the Children’s Defense Fund took one of their existing programs for school children called Freedom Schools a academic enrichment summer program and offered it to a Juvenile Offender Camp in California which produced amazing results: most of the young men who participated once released, stayed in school(did not drop out) and did not reoffend. These are the kinds of solutions we need to help our children that are “at risk”.

  6. I for one am very concerned about the trends affecting our youth and incarceration rates. I have worked to introduce performance based programs for at risk youth in my community and pretty much was opposed tooth and nail. I have also argued against the local jail desire/intent to expand juvenile detention centers so that the families can visit their incarcerated loved ones closer to home instead of spending funding for intervention and prevention as a cheaper alternative. We must be on one accord or individuals will continue to be targeted and those of us challenging these unjust acts will be targeted and dealt with one way or another.

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