When young people are accused of criminal activity, the potential ramifications may be that they have to spend time in jail or in prison. The hope is that this will be a deterrent for them in the future, that they can be reformed by the prison system and that they can be released into a crime-free life.
If that all sounds a bit too much like idealism, you can definitely see the problems with this system already. This is often not what happens to young offenders. What really occurs, and what type of impact does jail time actually have on their lives?
There’s a decline in physical and mental health
First and foremost, young people who spend significant time behind bars often see their mental health decline, along with their physical health. This has been tracked out in various studies and it shows how difficult it is for young people to exist under these types of conditions.
Additionally, it is worth considering the impact these mental health issues may have on the rest of their life. If someone is eventually released, are they actually going to be reformed? Or are they just now going to have to deal with a spectrum of mental health issues that may hinder their ability to get a job or may push them back into criminal activity?
The odds of a crime in the future increase
It has been found that those who spend time in jail during their juvenile years are more likely to commit future crimes as an adult. Rather than acting as a reforming mechanism, the prison system seems to make it more probable that they will commit criminal acts as they grow up, some of which may be far more serious than the ones that led to the initial arrest.
There are many potential reasons for this, but one major one is that a criminal record can make it difficult for young people to find employment or go to school. This may make them feel that they have no choice but to return to a life of crime afterward.
What can parents do?
If your child has been accused of a crime and you’re worried about all these potential issues and the ramifications of their sentencing, it’s critical that you look into all of your legal defense options. You need to know what steps to take to protect your child’s future.