Wednesday, juvenile justice advocates attend a public meeting asking that Milwaukee County administrators invest in community-based treatment services for youth instead of spending millions on a new facility to incarcerate non-serious juvenile offenders.
A representative of the Youth Justice Milwaukee coalition pointed to the fact youth incarceration does little to rehabilitate offenders. In fact, seventy-five percent of youth in the system are just re-arrested within three years – evidence of the ineffectiveness of imprisoning youth in the first place.
Also troubling are recent allegations of prisoner abuse, child neglect and excessive force at two Wisconsin youth prisons. After the details of law enforcement’s investigation of the facilities were made public, youth advocates called for their closure in October.
At the meeting, the County Health and Human Services Director acknowledged the need to expand community treatment, but said he cannot act alone. Decisions to incarcerate youth include players at the state Department of Corrections, circuit judges, the district attorneys office and law enforcement agencies who may not see eye-to-eye on the efficacy of incarcerating youth despite the preponderance of evidence that it is a poor substitute for community-based alternatives in many cases.
Waukesha Juvenile Arrest Lawyer
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Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Clash of views on treating juvenile offenders”, by Don Behm, December 7, 2016.