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Troubled youth need treatment, not a prison bed


POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Feb 25, 2014

~~<p>Devoting more state resources to substance-abuse and mental-health treatment for Hawaii's most troubled children is an investment in public safety. Effective, early intervention in these young lives is a much better alternative than locking up nonviolent youthful offenders.</p>
<p>Such an approach is ultimately better for the juvenile delinquents, the taxpayers and society as a whole &mdash; but it requires a change in thinking in a state where 72 percent of the young people sent to the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility are confined for nonviolent offenses, 61 percent of them misdemeanors. Rather than incarcerating these minors, the focus should be on providing intensive treatment that can help them kick drugs and alcohol and reclaim and maintain their mental health &mdash; a more likely path to a crime-free future.</p>
~~

Devoting more state resources to substance-abuse and mental-health treatment for Hawaii's most troubled children is an investment in public safety. Effective, early intervention in these young lives is a much better alternative than locking up nonviolent youthful offenders.

Such an approach is ultimately better for the juvenile delinquents, the taxpayers and society as a whole — but it requires a change in thinking in a state where 72 percent of the young people sent to the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility are confined for nonviolent offenses, 61 percent of them misdemeanors. Rather than incarcerating these minors, the focus should be on providing intensive treatment that can help them kick drugs and alcohol and reclaim and maintain their mental health — a more likely path to a crime-free future. Login for more...



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