Saturday, July 20, 2013

STUDY: Throwing Kids In Jail Makes Crime Worse, Ruins Lives

Original Article

Diigo Post Excerpt:
Mass incarceration of American youth is actually making the country’s crime problem worse, according to a new study of Chicago youth incarceration.

The study, conducted by Anna Aizer of Brown University and Joseph Doyle, Jr. of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, examined roughly 35,000 former Chicago public school students who had now grown up. Aizer and Doyle picked Chicago because its random judge assignment system for juvenile cases allowed them to develop a way of studying truly random (and hence representative) samples of juvenile offenders by identifying judges more likely to hand down harsher sentences.

This method of identifying incarcerated youth allows them to compare groups of kids who committed crimes and went to jail with youth who committed similar offenses but didn’t do time. This helps eliminate the “if they went to jail, it’s because they were always criminals” explanation for why kids who go to jail might return as adults.

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