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Management of Juvenile Correctional Facility Compared to Its Adult Contemporary


Juvenile offenders are generally affected more by incarceration than their adult counterparts. The mental and physical effects of this are caused by separation from the family and social network; and disruption of education. The state usually should provide a prisoner with all the basic needs. However, for a youth who is still developing both mentally and physically, the amenities provided for the adult prisoners may not be sufficient for the juvenile.

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The aim of incarceration of the youth should be rehabilitative rather than punitive; the latter aim is by default or otherwise more emphasized in adult incarceration. Restriction without any form of program and with punitive aims only almost invariably results in recidivism into crime; the juvenile facilities are charged with a larger responsibility to rehabilitate the inmate than the adult facilities.

The 1997 American Correctional Association annual directory of prisons and juvenile facilities reported that 2,634 youths under age 16 and 8,511 juveniles under 18 resided in adult institutions during the year. Juveniles who have committed an atrocious crime can be incarcerated in juvenile jails before transfer to a regular prison when they attain mature age, but generally, all inmates under the age of 18 should be in special juvenile jails as they are equipped to offer an environment tailor-made to the youth.

Juvenile jails are a way of insulating the youngster from the negative influences of adult criminals; with the general assumption that they will be released later as responsible and corrected citizens. To achieve this, there are several things that I, as a manager of a juvenile correctional facility make fundamentally different from an adult jail.

Juvenile facilities

A strict enforcement of written down rule handed out on arrival is necessary. There should be sanctioned methods or punitive measures of dealing with the breaking of these rules; however, these measures should not involve the withdrawal of any of the basic needs like food or water. Further more, capital punishment should never be used in juvenile facilities. This will serve to instill a respect for law and order.

Additionally, there are issues that are unique to juveniles; for example, for younger inmates, the institution should have a readily available pediatric specialist who will see all the warranting medical cases. The diet should also be prepared to cater for the nutritional needs of the different age groups and genders.


In the United States, five hour of academic instructions are required by law for purposes of instilling basic education in juvenile facilities. However, for purposes of academic excellence, further steps can be taken. It has been shown that by reducing the staff/student ratio, higher academic achievement was seen. Additionally the academic program should be structured in a manner not only to reflect the current status of the student (incarcerated) but also to reform and transcend to a lawful citizen after release. This would go a long way to curb recidivism.

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Accommodation and facilities

The prison facilities should not only offer security to the individual inmate and the public, they should also be stimulating to the growing minds of the juveniles. Facilities such as television, the internet, libraries and gyms should be designed for the youth rather than the government standard issue prison facilities. It has also been shown that a 15 – 25 program of housing has led to a reduction of violent incidents.

Emotional support

The juvenile offenders should also receive emotional support. Qualified psychologists and counselors should be employed to guide the youth through the emotional storm that are characteristic of the age and situations. These professionals will also discover the emotional triggers the led the person down the road of crime; for example sexual or violent abuse; and help them achieve mental health and therefore prevent recidivism. It would be of no service to the public to imprison a person during the youth and again during adulthood due to a later relapse into criminal activities; this is the challenge to the juvenile correction management.

Comprehensive release program and Family reunification

The process of release should start before the incarceration ends; counseling of both the inmate and the family members is necessary. Additionally, family visits should be encouraged to assure the inmate of acceptance back home after the release.

Specialized treatment and Training

Older inmates (17 to 21 years) may need specialized aggressive medical and psychological treatment for example for alcoholism; and drug use and addiction.

Additionally, to enable a smooth transition to the community, pre-work training and programs are necessary. These will be aimed at enabling the youth to recognize and avoid line of thought that lead to criminal behavior; and therefore equipping him with the ability to avoid a life of crime and to successfully integrate back into the society. These types of programs are common in the adult facilities and had been in the past ignored in the juvenile system.


The juvenile correction facilities have a grander purpose than their adult contemporary as they are charged with the responsibility of producing an upright citizen; the latter more or less do not have this burden. Consequently the juvenile facility management should take to stride this challenge and format systems and facilities that will enhance the achievement of this goals rather than applying adult facility concepts that may not be affective.


American Youth Prevention Forum, (1998), The Juvenile Justice System: The Best Way to Deal with Juvenile Crime, Delinquency And Prevention. Web.

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Federal Bureau of Prisons, (Not Dated). Prison Types & General Information. Web.

FindLaw, (2007), Jails and Prisons: Types and Kinds. Web.

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