The recently released National Juvenile Justice Network policy paper, based on Pathways to Desistance study findings, supports Indiana’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative that will be rolling out in eleven more counties in 2014. Specifically, the research found that secure confinement does not help children develop self-control or responsibility. Instead, incarceration slows the development of psychosocial maturity, temperance, and responsibility. The youth who “do not get the help they need for positive development pose a greater risk to public safety.”
The research also found that “most youth will age out of delinquent behavior as they mature.”
The challenge will be in rural communities that must continue to work to develop intensive services for the child and the family in the counties or regions as a viable alternative to secure detention. All of the children in Indiana deserve access to detention alternatives no matter where they live.