It is often thought that jail time is a deterrent to crime. Therefore, when young people are arrested, jail time may be used to ensure that they don’t offend again. The hope is that they will see the time behind bars as a potential ramification and that will modify their behavior in the future.
All of this sounds very good in theory, but the truth is that it does not work. For one thing, a lengthy time behind bars is often not a deterrent because people who are committing crimes are assuming they will not get caught. Short terms can work, but not always. Additionally, it’s been found that juvenile offense rates tend to rise after they have been to prison. If anything, putting these young offenders behind bars is having the opposite of the intended effect.
Why does this happen?
There are many reasons why this occurs. For one thing, someone who may have committed a single crime in the heat of the moment could be in prison with those who have been running criminal operations for years. This person who may never have broken the law again now has the opportunity to learn far more about how to do so.
Perhaps the bigger reason, though, is that a criminal record can be very detrimental to someone’s life. If your child is18 years old and has a record, they may already have had to leave high school, they may not be able to get into certain colleges, they may struggle to find a job, and they could even have trouble getting a place to live when you move out. All of this means that juvenile offenders are often caught in a cycle where they cannot work and are forced to commit more crimes, especially of a financial nature – which is why drug crimes are so common.
As such, it’s crucial for parents and young offenders to know about all the defense options at their disposal.