Philadelphia Inquirer

Adult crime, adult time?

A rising debate / some say getting tougher with teen criminals is the answer. Others say it will make tougher criminals

Inquirer Washington Bureau
May 10, 1997

… Even though statistics show a decline in the overall rate of juvenile violent crimes, high-profile crimes have bred public outrage and political pressure. Thus, state legislatures and now Congress are seeking longer, more-certain sentences.

… Still, a 1994 Justice Department report said that 36 states put young inmates in housing with adult inmates. Jeffrey Butts, a senior research associate at the National Center for Juvenile Justice, called that “a recipe for disaster.”

“You only have the good intentions of corrections officials,” he said. “You might have very good programs in some states, but in less-progressive states, you might have 14-year-olds in with adults.”

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