Figuring out what works — and what doesn’t — in Colorado’s juvenile justice system
Re: “Miracle in youth corrections?” March 19 Vincent Carroll column.
I was glad to see The Denver Post revisit the issues raised by a previous article about Colorado’s Division of Youth Corrections, and I applaud the points Vincent Carroll made regarding the dearth of research on the issue. Too often we get the extreme headlines without thoughtful explorations of issues.
We do have a lot of research about what helps human beings do well, and what puts them at risk to not do well, which should be the basis of decisions about rehabilitation, which is supposed to be the goal of the entire juvenile justice system. The role of the juvenile courts was conceived “to act in the place of a kind and just parent” to provide the guidance and discipline kids need to return to a healthy developmental trajectory.
It should be noted that expecting/encouraging kids to be the instrument of control over other kids does not demonstrate or teach discipline, and sets a dangerous precedent for those kids in the real world. The improvement brought about by increased staff-to-youth ratios bears out common sense. Adults are responsible for keeping kids safe, thus increasing staff is key to creating safety in group settings where kids pose a risk to themselves and/or others.