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Incarcerating youth has little benefit – What does work?

photo from "No Place For Kids"

A new report, based on 40 years of data, reveals that incarcerating juvenile offenders has failed to stem or reduce youth crime. Even though incarceration costs most states (including California) approximately $88,000 per youth annually, it has not paid off in terms of rehabilitation or public safety. Within three years of release from a juvenile correction facility, nearly 75% of youth have been re-arrested. In addition, youth are exposed to violence and abuse while incarcerated.

Alternatives to juvenile incarceration exist and the report offers a number of recommendations, some of which are currently in play and providing better outcomes. Investing in promising non-residential alternatives is one of the recommendations – and Amanecer is on this track with its Wraparound Program. For youth who are at high risk for out-of-home placement due to behavioral issues and close calls with the juvenile justice system, involvement with Wrap can be life-changing.

“Our Wrap program works because we address the multiple issues that can be at the root of a young person’s behavioral problems,” explains Alex Lucas, Wraparound Services Program Director. “The process is intensive, holistic and team-based; our staff is available to the youth and family on a 24/7 basis; and we get results.”

In recent years, the program has successfully diverted 189 high-risk youth from out-of-home placement, foster care, the juvenile justice system or psychiatric hospitalization.

“From parents and siblings, to teachers and case workers, everyone is invested in the Wrap process,” states Alex. “Our goal is to leverage these combined strengths to support youth and their families as they work to stay together in their homes and communities.”

 

“Our Wrap program works because we address the multiple issues that can be at the root of a young person’s behavioral problems,” explains Alex Lucas, Wraparound Services Program Director. “The process is intensive, holistic and team-based; our staff is available to the youth and family on a 24/7 basis; and we get results.”

 


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