Most people are aware that hitting babies is a bad idea.  Not everyone understands the consequences of incarcerating children.

I found this Linked In back and forth discussion on when to put kids in jail a good start on the topic;

After taking some Criminal Justice classes in college and contemplating becoming a police person I must ask now as a teacher, what age really should we put in jail?

Support Kids At Risk Action & Purchase Amazon Kindle Invisible Children Ebook for 2.99 (support KARA) or Printed Book $16.95

(invite me to speak at your conference) / Buy our book or donate  Sample 4 minute video of Mike’s awesome talk on child protection in America

Several Jobs as a Teacher at Many SchoolsTop Contributor


  • Gerri PorterfieldGerri

    Gerri Porterfield

    Several Jobs as a Teacher at Many Schools

    Top Contributor

    I feel it depends on the crime and how many crimes the juvenile has committed and 18 should be a number that must change. What do you think?

  • jim vinesjim

    jim vines

    Facility Administrator at McLennan County Juvenile Probation Department

    if you can vote and serve on a jury, then you can go to jail.

  • Nancy

    Nancy Pierce

    Juvenile Probation Officer at Douglas County Juvenile Department

    I believe that detention is necessary whee the youth presents a threat to themselves or the community. They also need to be a high risk of recidivism, this is why a validated risk assessment is necessary.

    Jason G. likes this

  • Jason

    Jason Goyt

    Substitute Teacher at Clare-Gladwin RESD

    The last thing you want to do is put a child into the system or jail. Need to exhaust every resource possible and use every probation type currently available in an attempt to save the child. When people are young, there is still a chance to reform their thinking and help them make better/positive choices. When you start to place juveniles into prisons or jails you they will begin to socialize with other felons and begin to think that behavior is “cool” or offers the most for them.
    Now having said that, I do believe there might come a time where the decision to place a child in a jail setting might be needed. Some crimes, such as certain felonies and possibly a couple of misdemeanors would require jail time but their exposure or socialization with other inmates has to be very limited. The jail will have to offer programs as a last chance effort to change their behavior or they might head down the road to a life of crime.
    Bottom line, you have to take in account a lot of things to determine if jail is necessary for juveniles because most of the time in jail they will not have access to any positive programs just negative influences from other criminals.

    Robin B.Leslie T. and 1 other like this

  • Larona

    Larona Cosby

    I must agree with. Most children don’t understand what they are doing and the impact it will have on their lives.

    Linda Boehringer likes this

  • Larona

    Larona Cosby

    I believe as well that we should exhaust every Avenue when it comes down to helping our youth. When were in school there was plenty to do. P.E.. dance class, music, tennis, swimming just to name a few. We need to bring that kind of stuff back into the school system.

    Linda Boehringer likes this

  • Maya DeNolaMaya

    Maya DeNola

    MSW Candidate (Intern) at Colorado Juvenile Defenders Coalition – Juvenile Life Without Parole Project

    I think we need to start making a distinction between confinement and punishment.
    Sometimes you do need to “confine” a child. The question should be, what are the conditions…are you helping or hurting…sadly the model that we now have is largely harmful.
    Confinement in and of itself is not the problem, it’s what you do with people once you’ve confined them…

    As for age, we now know that 18 is arbitrary age, neuroscience et al has validated this…time for change…

  • R RevelesR

    R Reveles

    Office Assistant III at County of San Bernardino

    Having the opportunity to work in a juvenile probation setting…I was waiting and still want to see the parents of repeat juvenile offenders held responsible on some kind of level. I’ve helped my peers locate their parent’s associates, after the minor’s own parent who’s sold their own child into prostitution or the numerous parents that are out there committing felonies with their own children.

  • April GrahamApril

    April Graham

    Case Management and Parole Supervisior at Juvenile Justice Service Utah

    There is tons of information out of this topic lately. Some about blending more sentence so younger adult offenders and avoiding putting young offenders into Jail settings with more sophisticated offenders. Lots of arguments about brain development and lack of logical thinking until age 25. There are a lot of kids failed by the Juvenile Justice System who grow up in the system and handed off at age 18 to the adult system or very young kids who come into the system with a huge crime. Cases like these need to be looked at individually. This does need to be looked at more closely. Some of these kids are made worse through the system. Research shows we save money and have better outcomes with treatment.

  • Leslie

    Leslie Tisdel

    MST Therapist at ODJFS

    Jason, I couldn’t agree with you more. When we put kids in juvenile detention centers and they start to interact with hardened juvenils who have no conscience they are moe than likely going to pick up on some of these behaviors and once released with try to do what they were introduced too, either to see if it’ll work or if they can get away with it. I think we should exhaust other options (especially with young offenders) before locking them away and believing that this will some how deter the negative behavior from occurring again.

  • Libby Wamsley SellarsLibby

    Libby Wamsley Sellars

    State Advocacy Chair at Autism Speaks

    I believe that the officer themselves, having looked at the evidence, environment, and crime that a juvenile is a part of is pertinent before lock-up is decided. There are good kids in a bad situation. However, there are bad kids in both good and bad situations too. So, weighing the circumstances is essential. Having said that, there are some who would benefit mentally and gain an extended life by being in a center not so much for criminals, but troubled kids. There are also some who belong in prison for a long time.

  • Asha MartinAsha

    Asha Martin

    Recent grad looking to further gain knowledge of the criminal justice system with a concentration in mental health.

    Children are committing adult crimes with little understanding or remorse. What should we do with them then?

  • Maya DeNolaMaya

    Maya DeNola

    MSW Candidate (Intern) at Colorado Juvenile Defenders Coalition – Juvenile Life Without Parole Project

    Libby M. It sadness me that an advocate would use the term “bad kids”. Do you truly mean to say there are just inherently “bad” children? No one is born hating, or with murder in their harts…circumstances create “bad” people…and we as a society have a collective responsibility to ameliorate such situations. Calling kids “bad” feels a bit like “blaming the victim”… Perhaps you did not mean that?

  • Maya DeNolaMaya

    Maya DeNola

    MSW Candidate (Intern) at Colorado Juvenile Defenders Coalition – Juvenile Life Without Parole Project

    Asha M., I think you make a great point; children lack the understanding of many things, remorse is possibly one if them. Ergo: children are different, as such we can not and should not treat them as adults. All EVIDENCE indicates that punishment and coercive incarceration has far more negative outcomes on child offenders. So at a minimum I can tell you what we shouldn’t do… What do you think? Alternate sentencing ideas?

  • Claudia

    Claudia Garner

    Student at Discipleship Place Lay Ministry Courses

    I think we give these kids more credit than they deserve when it comes to crime. Some are childish, one daring the other to do something and then we have the ones who kill their own parents or themselves. That is allowing them to make grown up decisions and have no real idea of what happens after the fact. Being in child protective serves for so long when I had a teen do any criminal act I held them responsible. My purpose was to try and give them the look of the real world and what can happen. I want it to be a hard wake up call because if they learn anything I will be the first one to help remove it off their record and have it sealed. Once they are adults their goals in life will have grown up as well as the punishment they will receive. I have had countless come to me later and thank me for being a hard ass on them and they got through it knowing there is a better life waiting for them, Some may not learn anything but a better way to commit a crime it is a chance to take and every case is different. I do know the 7 year old who tried to poison me learned his lesson because he did not expect to be in leg chains and handcuffs brought into court. Or the night they went to arrest him and put the handcuffs on. Just those things alone made a big difference all I needed was to see in his eyes he was a child not a big bad thug. Just sharing a thought and experience I am sure others have tried more ways of doing this but I was glad to have his record taken off and sealed as I enjoyed taking him to his college dorm.

  • Linda BoehringerLinda

    Linda Boehringer

    Kennesaw Business News Examiner at

    So refreshing to hear the positive comments! Children need to be educated early on. Why is it so easy to put a child in jail/detention centers and yet the parents suffer no consequences? It just makes no sense to me. As parents we are responsible for our children’s well being and if our kids are in jail/detention centers we haven’t secured their well being. I know many disagree but I felt the need to share.

    Leslie T. likes this

  • Susan SwopeSusan

    Susan Swope

    Mediator at Juvenile Mediation Program, San Mateo Superior Court

    Linda, I would agree that sometimes the parents are culpable for their children’s behavior, but sometimes they are not. I agree with those who say that each case should be evaluated separately and the appropriate action taken. In some cases, the child has committed an offense despite the best efforts of the parents. In those cases, I think it is counterproductive to hit the parents with judicial consequences.

    Leslie T. likes this

  • David CoxDavid

    David Cox


    Hi Susan, Please correct me if I am wrong. When the Juvenile Justice System was constructed in 1899, it was based on the real true values and morals as America was built. Minor young adults were supposed to have equal rights under the Constitution, and be afforded the opportunity of Education and Rehabilitation as the first option. The Department of Corrections was to be for recidivist offenders by adults. VIA En Re Gault in the late 1960’s, was a turn for the good of this system and showed positive progress. The Criminal Justice System of which The Juvenile Justice System is a part of, is slowly absorbing minors into this system. Due to the severity of crimes in nature committed by juveniles today, has formed an avenue creating enormous revenue simply by the age of said offenders. This doesn’t answer your question I know, and maybe this will. My research and very accurate is heartbreaking at best. Innocent parents are not as profitable and have a shorter life expectancy locked up, though the guilty run free. While minor children placed in the criminal justice system bring big money to the table. Sad yes. For minors committing extreme acts of violence against society is the option for this type of action I agree to a point. USSC Chief Justice opinion’s concur with specific and a complete list of surrounding circumstances. For the scales of justice to remain in balance by the definition, that the needs of the individual as well as the needs of society as a whole must be allowed to mature in order for society to understand the actions committed. The punishment should fit the crime. It is what it is. I only write what I know to be true, good or not so good. My deep concern for the innocent minors that have done nothing more than to be under the age of 18, victims of divorce, neglect, and abuse being funneled into a system of which there is a very little chance to recover is overwhelming and must have some legislative oversight. I still have not answered your question, my apologies and recognition of your very valid concern and question. Respectfully,
    David Cox