Bad boys, bad boys - seriously, what are you gonna do? - Macleans.ca

Bad boys, bad boys – seriously, what are you gonna do?

Expert says jailing youth makes adult criminals

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Anyone who has ever attempted to corral a contingent of unruly children will likely concur with the conclusions of Universite de Montreal child development expert Richard Tremblay, who released a study yesterday that found that youth delinquency, like chicken pox, is “contagious.” Tremblay’s findings on the link between “the involvement of youth in the criminal justice system and adult offenders” are based on the results of a 20-year joint research project between UdM and the University of Genoa in Italy. “If you put a bunch of delinquents together, they won’t help each other, they will teach other,” says Tremblay.”They will try to one-up each other.” Like many other academics, Tremblay is “troubled” by the zeal with which the federal government appears to be “toughening up” the youth justice system, and fears that, far from increasing public safety, it will have the opposite effect. He touts prevention programs instead, and suggests that the overall prison population would be “greatly reduced” if “problem cases” were identified early. “Six-year-olds are not making people scared … But that same 6-year-old will some day be 16. Then he will scare us.”

Montreal Gazette

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