When Detention Becomes Abuse: The Importance of Legal Advocacy for Young People

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The juvenile justice system is designed to provide a safe and rehabilitative environment for young people who have committed crimes. However, when detention becomes abusive, it can impact a young person’s mental and physical health. Legal advocacy is crucial in ensuring that young people are not abused while in detention.

The Dangers of Detention

Young people are developmentally different from adults and are morally less culpable than them. Despite these differences, several kids are incarcerated in juvenile detention centers, where they sleep in cells akin to those used for adult inmates.

When Detention Becomes Abuse

These facilities are more harmful than beneficial, so the juvenile justice system should use alternatives such as community-based programs, counseling, and education instead of detaining young offenders.

Detention can have long-lasting negative effects on young people. Studies show that detained young people are more likely to drop out of school, experience mental health problems, and become involved in the criminal justice system as adults.

Furthermore, detention can be traumatic and abusive, with young people being subjected to violence, sexual abuse, and neglect.

The Importance of Legal Advocacy

Legal advocacy is crucial in ensuring that detained young people are not subjected to abuse. Advocates from the Kelso Lawyers site, for example, can work to ensure that young people have access to education, medical care, and other basic needs. They can also work to ensure that young people are not subjected to physical or emotional abuse while in detention.

Legal advocates play a critical role in ensuring that detained young people are treated fairly and humanely. They can be a voice for young people who may be too afraid or intimidated to speak up for themselves. Advocates can also help young people understand their legal rights and work to protect those rights.

Legal Advocacy

In addition, legal advocates can work to ensure that young people are provided with the resources they need to transition back into their communities successfully. This includes access to job training, mental health services, and other support services that can help young people rebuild their lives after detention.

Legal advocacy can also help hold detention facilities accountable for any abuse. Advocates can work to ensure that facilities are held to high standards of care and that any abuse that occurs is thoroughly investigated and addressed.

Challenges Facing Young People in Detention

Young people who are detained often face various challenges, including mental health issues, substance abuse, and a lack of access to education and job training. These challenges can make it difficult for young people to transition back into their communities after detention successfully. 

Legal advocates can work to address these challenges by connecting young people with the resources they need to rebuild their lives.

Alternatives to Detention

While detention is sometimes necessary for young people who have committed crimes, there are also alternative programs that can be effective in reducing recidivism and promoting rehabilitation. These include community-based supervision, restorative justice programs, and mental health and substance abuse treatment.

Mental Health

Legal advocates can work to ensure that young people are given access to these programs when appropriate.

The Disproportionate Impact on Marginalized Communities

The juvenile justice system has a disproportionate impact on marginalized communities, including communities of color and low-income communities

Young people from these communities are more likely to be detained and less likely to have access to resources that can help them successfully transition back into their communities.

Legal advocates can address these disparities by advocating for policies promoting equity and fairness in the juvenile justice system.

Advocacy and Policy Change

While legal advocacy is crucial in ensuring that detained young people are treated fairly and humanely, it is also important to work towards broader policy change. This includes advocating for reforms to the juvenile justice system that promote rehabilitation and reduce recidivism.

It also includes advocating for policies that address the root causes of crime, such as poverty, lack of access to education and job training, and mental health and substance abuse issues.

The Importance of Community Support

Community support is also crucial in ensuring that detained young people can transition back into their communities successfully. This includes support from family, friends, and community organizations. Legal advocates can work to help young people build these support networks and connect them with resources in their communities.

Family Support

Family involvement is also crucial for the success of young people in the juvenile justice system. However, many families face barriers to accessing information and participating in the legal process. 

Legal advocates can help bridge this gap by communicating with families and ensuring they are informed and involved in decisions affecting their children.

Conclusion

When detention becomes abusive, it can have a lasting impact on young people. Legal advocacy is crucial in ensuring that detained young people are treated fairly and humanely. However, working towards broader policy change that promotes equity and fairness in the juvenile justice system is also important.

Together, we can make sure that young people in detention have the support they require to reintegrate back into their communities and rebuild their lives successfully.