Juvenile correctional institutions are responsible for incarcerating young offenders and carrying out the punishments handed down by the state. At the same time, they espouse the hope that they can reform the youths in their care. Feld argues that there is a continuing gap in juvenile correctional facilities between “the rhetoric of rehabili- tation and its punitive reality” suggest that when asked to reflect on their own experiences in juvenile correc- tions and adult prisons, young offenders found their time in the “deep end” of juvenile corrections to be their most helpful placement. They identified a combination of programming, caring staff, and smaller pop- ulations which helped to make training schools a better experience than the more punitive prisons where they were incarcerated alongside gen- erally older, stronger, more chronically criminal adults. They also made the point that sanctions earlier in the juvenile justice system ultimately had little impact on their attitudes or behavior. They felt that the short sentences and relatively loose supervision did not give them enough time to get away from their lives on the outside and invest in the programming.
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