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UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See prorev.com for full contents of our site

March 15, 2010

THE MISSOURI MODEL OF JUVENILE JUSTICE

MARION WRIGHT EDELMAN, HUFFINGTON POST - The state of Missouri has created a juvenile justice system that has proved so successful over the last thirty years it's known as the "Missouri Miracle." A number of practices combine to make Missouri's system unique: It's primarily made up of small facilities, generally designed for between ten and thirty youths, located at sites throughout the state that keep young people close to their own homes. These facilities don't look like jails with traditional cells; there are only eight isolation rooms in the entire state, which are seldom used and only for emergency situations. They feature a highly trained and educated staff working in teams with small groups of youths. Youths are treated with respect and dignity, and instead of more traditional correctional approaches, the system uses a rehabilitative and therapeutic model that works towards teaching the young people to make positive, lasting changes in their behavior. The result has been some of the best outcomes in the nation: fewer than 8% of the youths in the Missouri system return again after their release, and fewer than 8% go on to adult prison. One-third of the youths return to their communities with a high school diploma or GED, and another 50% successfully return to school. . .


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