Butts, Jeffrey A. and Douglas N. Evans (2011). Resolution, Reinvestment, and Realignment: Three Strategies for Changing Juvenile Justice. New York, NY: Research and Evaluation Center, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York.
The scale of incarceration is not simply a reaction to crime. It is a policy choice. Some lawmakers invest heavily in youth confinement facilities. In their jurisdictions, incarceration is a key component of the youth justice system. Other lawmakers invest more in community-based programs. In their view, costly confinement should be reserved for chronic and seriously violent offenders. These choices are critical for budgets and for safety. If officials spend too much on incarceration, they will eventually lack the resources to operate a diversified and well-balanced justice system. Correctional institutions and the high costs associated with incarceration will begin to dominate fiscal and programmatic decision making.