As Laurence Steinberg (2), Professor of Psychology at Cornell University, states “A young person whose educational or occupational development is interrupted when it need not be-for instance, if a juvenile who actually is not dangerous is forced to spend time in a correctional institution-will end up at greater risk for later unemployment, mental health problems, and criminal activity” (Steinberg 2).
When it comes to treatment and rehabilitation, other trends have arisen within the juvenile justice system that represent an alternative to jail time. Boot camps have begun popular across the country, a military-like environment where children are faced with the harsh reality of boot-camp existence. They learn responsibility and accountability among peers of their own age. Other alternatives have arisen such as offering graduation incentives for disadvantaged youth which the RAND Corporation has cited as responsible for preventing “four times as many crimes as spending the same amount on prisons” (Covering 2). The problem is that because of increasing juvenile violence and public outcry, politicians who court the favor of voters use fear-mongering to pass legislation aimed at throwing juvenile offenders in jails. They pass legislation and allocated funding in such a manner that many states like Pennsylvania and California spend more on prisons than they do education. Until we begin to construct alternatives to current juvenile justice system trends, we will see our dilapidated school systems continue to be a fee