Juveniles Growing Up in Prison

Series Titles • The History of Punishment and Imprisonment • Juveniles Growing Up in Prison • Political Prisoners • Prison Alternatives and Rehabilitation • Prison Conditions Around the World • The Treatment of Prisoners and Prison Conditions • The True Cost of Prisons • Unequal Justice • Women Incarcerated

Juveniles Growing Up in Prison

FOREWORD BY Larry E. Sullivan, PhD Associate Dean, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

BY Roger Smith and Martha McIntosh


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Copyright © 2018 by Mason Crest, an imprint of National Highlights, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Printed and bound in the United States of America. First printing 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Series ISBN: 978-1-4222-3781-6 Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4222-3783-0 ebook ISBN: 978-1-4222-7998-4 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Smith, Roger, 1959 August 15- author. | McIntosh, Martha, author. Title: Juveniles growing up in prison / by Roger Smith and Martha McIntosh ;  foreword by Larry E. Sullivan, PhD, Associate Dean, John Jay College of  Criminal Justice. Other titles: Youth in prison Description: Broomall, PA : Mason Crest, [2018] | Series: The prison system |  Includes index. Identifiers: LCCN 2016054100| ISBN 9781422237830 (hardback) | ISBN  9781422237816 (series) | ISBN 9781422279984 (ebook) Subjects: LCSH: Juvenile justice, Administration of--Juvenile literature. |  Juvenile detention--United States--Juvenile literature. | Juvenile  detention--Canada--Juvenile literature. Classification: LCC HV9069 .S65 2018 | DDC 365/.420973--dc23 Developed and Produced by Print Matters Productions, Inc. (www.printmattersinc.com) Cover and Interior Design : Tom Carling, Carling Design Additional Text: Brian Boone Managing Editor: David Andrews QR CODES AND LINKS TO THIRD PARTY CONTENT You may gain access to certain third party content (“Third Party Sites”) by scanning and using the QR Codes that appear in this publication (the “QR Codes”). We do not operate or control in any respect any information, products or services on such Third Party Sites linked to by us via the QR Codes included in this publication, and we assume no respon- sibility for any materials you may access using the QR Codes. Your use of the QR Codes may be subject to terms, limitations, or restrictions set forth in the applicable terms of use or otherwise established by the owners of the Third Party Sites. Our linking to such Third Party Sites via the QR Codes does not imply an endorsement or sponsorship of such Third Party Sites, or the information, products or services offered on or through the Third Party Sites, nor does it imply an endorsement or sponsorship of this publication by the owners of such Third Party Sites.


Foreword by Larry E. Sullivan, PhD.......................................................... 6 1 A Brief History of Juvenile Justice..................................... 9 2 The Juvenile Justice System.............................................25 3 Why Are Juveniles Incarcerated?....................................33 4 A Day in Juvenile Detention..............................................43 5 What Are Juvenile Detention Centers Like?................ 49 6 Girls, Boys, and Incarceration......................................... 59 7 The Effects of Incarceration on Youth: What Happens After?....................................................... 69 Series Glossary.......................................................................................... 75 Further Resources......................................................................................78 Index...............................................................................................................79 About the Author, Series Consultant, and Picture Credits.............. 80 Sidebars: This boxed material within the main text allows readers to build knowledge, gain insights, explore possibilities, and broaden their perspectives by weaving together additional information to provide realistic and holistic perspectives. Educational Videos: Readers can view videos by scanning our QR codes, providing them with additional educational content to supplement the text. Examples include news cover- age, moments in history, speeches, iconic sports moments and much more! Text-dependent Questions: These questions send the reader back to the text for more careful attention to the evidence presented there. Research projects: Readers are pointed toward areas of further inquiry connected to each chapter. Suggestions are provided for projects that encourage deeper research and analysis. Series glossary of key terms: This back-of-the-book glossary contains terminology used throughout this series. Words found here increase readers’ ability to read and comprehend higher-level books and articles in this field. Words to understand: These words with their easy-to-understand definitions will increase the reader’s understanding of the text while building vocabulary skills.


Prisons have a long history, one that began with the idea of evil, guilt, and atonement. In fact, the motto of one of the first prison reform organizations was “Sin no more.” Placing offenders in prison was, for most of the history of prison systems, a ritual for redemption through incarceration; hence the language of punishment takes on a very religious cast. The word penitentiary itself comes from the concept of penance, or self-punishment to make up for a past wrong. When we discuss prisons, we are dealing not only with the law, but with very strong emotions and reactions to acts that range fromminor crimes, or misdemeanors, to major crimes, or felonies, such as murder and rape. Prisons also reflect the level of the civilizing process throughwhich a culture travels, and it tells us much about how we treat our fellow human beings. The 19th-century Russian au- thor Fyodor Dostoyevsky, whowas a political prisoner, remarked, “The degree of civilization in a society can be measured by observing its prisoners.” Similarly, Winston Churchill, the British primeminister duringWorldWar II, said that the “treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of civilization of any country.” Formuchof thehistoryof theAmericanprison,wetriedtorehabilitateormodifythecriminal behavior of offenders through a variety of treatment programs. In the last quarter of the 20th century, politiciansandcitizensalikerealizedthat thisattempthadfailed, andtheybeganpassing stricter laws, imprisoning people for longer terms, and building more prisons. This movement has taken a great toll on society. Beginning in the 1970s federal and state governments passed mandatory minimum sentencing laws, stricter habitual offender legislation, and other “tough on crime” laws that have led today to the incarceration in prisons and jails of approximately 2.3 million people, or an imprisonment rate of 720 per 100,000 people, the highest recorded level in the world. This has led to the overcrowding of prisons, worse living conditions, fewer educa- tional programs, and severe budgetary problems. Imprisonment carries a significant social cost since it splits families and contributes to a cycle of crime, violence, drug addiction, and poverty. The Federal Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 created a grid of offenses and crime categories for sentencing that disallowedmitigating circumstances. This gridwasmeant to prevent disparate sentences for similar crimes. The governmentmade these guidelinesmandatory, thereby taking most discretionary sentencing out of the hands of judges who previously could give a wider range of sentences, such as one year to life, and allow for some type of rehabilitation. The unin- tended consequences of this legislative reformin sentencingwas the doubling of the number of incarcerated people in theUnited States. Combinedwith the harsh sentences on drug offenders, almost half of the prisoners in the federal systemare narcotics offenders, both violent and non- violent, traffickers andusers. States followed suit in enacting the harshguidelines of the federal government in sentencing patterns. “Life without parole” laws and the changes in parole and probationpractices ledtoevenmoreoffendersbehindbars. Following the increase inthenumber of incarcerated offenders, more and more prisons were built with the aid of federal funds and filled to the brim with both violent and nonviolent offenders. In addition, many states handed over penal custody to the new private for-profit prisons that stemmed frommass incarceration.


the prison System

In the 21st century officials, politicians, and the public began to realize that such drastic laws wrought much harm to society. With the spread of long-term imprisonment, those who had spent decades inprisonwereunemployable after release. Their criminal histories followed themandmade it difficult if not impossible tofindgainful employment. Therefore, theyentered the criminal world continually and thus sped up the vicious cycle of crime-imprisonment- release-crime-punishment. America was reaching the tipping point; something had to give. In response to this growing trend of harsh sentencing, for example, the Supreme Court led the way between 2005 and 2016 with decisions banning the death penalty for juveniles (Roper v. Simmons, U.S. 551 [2005]), life sentence without parole for juveniles not convicted of homicide (Graham v. Florida, 130 S. Ct. 2011 [2010]); and life without parole for juveniles (Miller v. Alabama and Jackson v. Hobbes 132 S. Ct. 2455 [2012] and Montgomery v. Loui- siana 135 S.Ct. 1729 [2015]). Behavioral psychologists and other officials do not consider juveniles capable of making fully formed decisions, and the Supreme Court has recognized the developmental differences that excuses full individual responsibility and applies to their actions the philosophic principle of just deserts. Many states (90 percent of pris- oners are under state, not federal jurisdiction) are beginning to take action by reducing harsh mandatory sentences for adults. Most states, for example, have gone toward the decriminalization or legalization of marijuana, with lighter penalties for possession of the drug. Since most prisoners in state institutions are violent, however, contemporary America is caught in a dilemma with which many academics and governmental policy makers are aggressively grappling. All these are reasons why this series on the prison system is extremely important for understanding the history and culture of the United States. Readers will learn all facets of punishment: its history; the attempts to rehabilitate offenders; the increasing number of women and juveniles inprison; the inequality of sentencing among the races; attempts to find alternatives to incarceration; the high cost, both economically andmorally, of imprisonment; and other equally important issues. These books teach us the importance of understanding that the prison system affects more people in the United States than any institution, other than our schools.

Larry E. Sullivan, PhD Associate Dean Chief Librarian John Jay College of Criminal Justice Professor of Criminal Justice Graduate School and University Center City University of New York


Juveniles Growing Up in Prison

Elizabeth Fry’s friends begged her not to go. The prison had a terrible reputation: female prisoners would rip the clothes off visitors’ backs, take any valuables, and hurl verbal abuse. It was 1812, and although Newgate Prison in London was one of the most infamous of its day, Elizabeth was not put off by her friends’ fears. A deeply religious Quaker, she felt compelled to go. “Hath not the Lord commanded us to remember those in prison?” she asked. So she entered Newgate, refusing even to take off her watch. Nothing couldhavepreparedFry forwhat she saw. Hundreds of drunkenwomen dressed in rags were crammed into four crowded rooms, prostitutes, thieves, and innocent people together, all waiting for their trials. Children whose only crime was that they had nowhere else to go were mixed in with the adults. Words to Understand Extenuating circumstances: Reasons that excuse or justify someone’s actions. Moralistic: Concerned with narrow and often rigid interpretations of right and wrong. Rehabilitation: To restore or bring to a condition of health or usefulness. Self-incrimination: The act of offering evidence or statements that would strongly sug- gest one’s own guilt. Vagrancy: A lifestyle characterized by wandering with no permanent place to live. A Brief History of Juvenile Justice

London’s Newgate Prison held those who committed minor crimes, including petty theft, and major crimes, such as rape and murder. It held prisoners of all ages and offered little to no rehabilitation.


Juveniles Growing Up in Prison

ElizabethFry got towork and spent the rest of her life diligently trying to better the lives of Newgate’s inmates. The prison became so extraordinary that world leaders heard of it and came to consult with her. Fry became a philanthropist known for her prison and social reforms.

Reformer Elizabeth Fry (1780−1845) spent much of her life aiding the poor, the sick, and those in prison.


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The Birth of Juvenile Justice in America Until the 20 century, societies judged juvenile offenders the same way they judged adult offenders. In Canada and the United States, as in much of the world, society viewed children as little adults. Punishments were very harsh for youths who committed crimes; many minor crimes were even punishable by death. It was not until the 19th century that attitudes began to change and soften as people began to realize that children had special needs. In the 150 years since then, there have been many important changes in juvenile incarceration. The History of the Juvenile Justice System in the United States Prior to the 19th century, U.S. society seemed to understand the concept of in- fants and toddlers but had no understanding of childhood and its special needs. When children got into trouble and their families could not handle them, society punished them in one of three ways: authorities bound them to middle- and upper-class skilled artisans as apprentices; childrenwere bound to any responsible adult to be used in any way the adult needed; or churches administered discipline such as whippings, beatings, or brandings, the same punishments that any adult would receive.

During the Industrial Revolution, it was not unusual to see children like this young girl in factories or mills. They often worked and sent their wages to support their families at home.


Juveniles Growing Up in Prison

An eight-year-old boy charged with stealing a bicycle is shown in Juvenile Court in St. Louis, MO, in 1910.


the prison System


Juveniles Growing Up in Prison

When the Industrial Revolution began in the 1800s, factory life replaced the family in the lives of many poor children. Children often left home at an early age and traveled around the country looking for work in factories. Many social problems such as child crime, drunkenness, and vagrancy worsened during this time, and mass immigration caused similar problems. Early Attempts at Rehabilitation Early reformers interested in rehabilitating rather than punishing young offend- ers established the New York House of Refuge, which opened in 1824. The main purpose of the institution, which was located on the Bowery in Manhattan, was to reform poor wayward children and help them become productive members of society. It is considered the first youth detention center in the United States. Individual states also began to see the problems of juvenile incarceration and began building similar youth reform homes that were like orphanages. Many of the youth in these homes were orphans and homeless. The state took on the responsibility of parenting young offenders until they showed a positive change in their behavior or until they became adults. In the 1830s the practice of “placing out” began as authorities sent problem children to farms in the Midwest and West to work. Some families treated the children as family members, but many abused them and made them work rigor- ously as farmhands. In the late 1800s, after the Civil War, reform schools, industrial schools, or training schools housed themany vagrant children roaming the country. Theword school was used loosely; these were mostly just holding pens for the children. The cottage reformatories had fewer children (20 to 40) with adult role models living with them, but the institutional reformatories held as many as 500 children in a cell block. Although children received a formal education that was very moral- istic , they did not usually learn a trade. In the late 1800s leading American women social reformers, including Jane Addams, Lucy Flower, and Julia Lathrop, convinced state legislatures to cre- ate a separate justice system for children. Due mostly to their efforts, on July 3, 1899, the first juvenile court in the United States began on the west side of Chicago. The youth courts were more informal than the adult version, with the judges considering any extenuating circumstances relating to the crime or behavior, not just the basic facts. By 1925 all but two states had juvenile courts, most following the Chicago model that included a judge who only presided over juveniles, informal hearings held in offices instead of courtrooms, and cases closed to the public. These juvenile courts kept records that were sealed when the children reached age 18, and whenever possible, probation was used as the main punishment.


the prison System

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