Policymakers, advocates, and even some researchers claim that youth confinement rates across the United States dropped in recent years due to changes in policy and practice. Such claims remain unproven, but voters and elected officials are inclined to accept them as factual because they are offered by reputable agencies and repeated in news media sources. Without reliable evidence, however, the notion that state-level youth confinement rates fall primarily in response to progressive policy reforms is merely appealing rhetoric.
Quality youth justice systems (a) limit the use of confinement to cases where it is objectively necessary, (b) ensure the health and safety of all confined youth, (c) provide effective treatments and developmentally appropriate programming, and (d) continually monitor and evaluate their effectiveness. These goals apply to all forms of secure confinement regardless of financing or organizational configuration.
Access to education is a constant theme in discussions germane to correctional reform, particularly to reduce rule breaking while incarcerated and re-offending after release from prison. Focusing on the latter, we examine the extent to which education is accessible for individuals who have felonious non-violent records in the United States (US). We generated a stratified random sample of 85 institutions of higher education (IHE) in the northeastern US and analyzed emails from admission departments in response to inquiries about how a felony record would affect admissions decisions. Results from multivariate models indicate that the institution type (public vs. private) significantly predicts how an IHE would use an individual’s criminal history in admissions decisions. Public IHEs are less likely to consider criminal history when reviewing an individual’s application and IHEs with higher proportions of minority students are associated with reduced consideration of an applicant’s criminal history in admissions decisions.
We actually need young people who are bold, willing to challenge conventional thinking, and to break rules, but we also need them to respect others, to rely on logic rather than force, and to appreciate the corrosive effects of violence and exploitation. In short, our communities need powerful and creative young people who want to improve us and not simply to fight us. These should seem like obvious concepts to anyone working around the youth justice system, but it is often surprisingly difficult to implement them in practice.
Incarceration has escalated over the past four decades in the United States, creating a number of negative consequences for individuals, families, and communities. This study seeks to identify the associations between mass incarceration and health behaviors/perceptions on a neighborhood level. Using the street intercept method, we collected in-person survey data from residents in two New York City neighborhoods (one in the South Bronx and the other in Northern Manhattan) with similar levels of social disadvantage but significantly different rates of jail admission. Respondents in both neighborhoods self-reported similar ratings of their physical health. Significant differences between neighborhoods include incidence of fast food consumption over the past week, alcohol use over the last 3 months, and perceptions of the occurrence of teen pregnancy in the neighborhood. This study hopes to inform future researchers and interventionists about associations between mass incarceration and health-related behaviors/perceptions to facilitate consideration of this increasingly common social factor as a determinant of community health in future research.
This paper discusses the process of conducting prison research in France. Drawing on a study conducted with a sample of prisoners in a maximum-security facility in Paris, this article outlines the major challenges relating to access, data collection, and dissemination of results in correctional research.