The Digital Journalist
© Steve Liss
"No Place for Children: Voices From Juvenile Detention"

The arm of a 14-year-old boy, seen through the window of his cell in juvenile detention, bears the scars of a recent suicide atempt. How many of our young "criminals" are really children in distress? Three-quarters of children detained in the United States are being held for non-violent offenses. Many of these children are substance abusers, and, according to the Coalition for Juvenile Justice, anywhere from 50 to 75 percent of them have some form of diagnosable mental illness. But juvenile detention was never designed to meet the treatment needs of kids with psychological and drug problems. While in detention, these troubled children receive minimal services, at best, and the effects of incarceration can be devastating.