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Juvenile justice system fails to provide tools necessary for future success

An individual's formative years provide the experiences and framework for one's entire life. For far too many South Carolina children, adolescents and teens; the environments in which they grow up are filled with poor examples. It's no wonder, therefore that some repeat the patterns of family members and friends that eventually lead to an arrest.

From misdemeanor crimes such as shoplifting to more serious felonies like drunk driving, juveniles who are arrested and charged with crimes are often placed in a juvenile detention center for time periods which range from a few days to several years.

For those placed in juvenile detention centers, the likelihood of recidivism is great. It's critical, therefore, that these centers do more to provide detained juveniles with the support, information and tools needed to break free from a life of crime and become productive members of society.

A key component of achieving this goal is education. The phrase, knowledge is power rings especially true for many juvenile offenders whose educational experiences may have been interrupted by family problems or truancy. Yet, despite the wide-held belief that education provides an opportunity for juvenile defenders to turn their lives around, a new study concludes juvenile detention centers in the south are failing.

The study, which was conducted by the Southern Education Foundation, contends juveniles who are detained in detection centers don't receive the education or tools needed to successfully re-enter society. As a result an estimated "70 to 80 percent ... return to jail after two to three years".

Individuals under the age of 18 who are facing criminal charges have a lot to lose if convicted and sent to a juvenile detention facility. A criminal defense attorney who handles juvenile crimes will work to defend a young individual's rights and ensure he or she is not allowed to drift down a lifetime path of crime and hopelessness.

Source: The Post and Courier, "Study: Juvenile justice system fails to educate young detainees," David Slade, April 17, 2014Southern Education Foundation, "Juvenile Justice Education Programs in the United States and Across the South Do More Harm Than Good," April 17, 2014

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