Detaining and committing underage offenders to juvenile facilities may be good for curbing the actual use of drugs and may generally be helpful in separating children from harmful influences. In general, a wide variety of in-facility services are available at secure institutions specifically designed for juvenile offenders.
Juvenile programs within youth detention centers try to cover all of the possible deficiencies and issues of delinquent youth regarding their perception as well-rounded, functioning individuals. Of course, depending on the sizes and exact purposes of juvenile facilities, the extent of what they may have to offer those within its walls may be limited. However, among the services these buildings may put forth include classes, mental health and special needs assessments, basic health care, drug dependency seminars, physical education, and informational sessions on gang violence, sexually-transmitted diseases and other important issues facing all young people.
As noted, for juvenile facilities to do the reformational job they are meant to do, they must attack the problems that keep youths in and out of the justice system at their core. However, in popular practice, this is easier said than done. Overcrowding in detention centers/jails and lack of available funding to meet the needs of the sum of the juvenile delinquent population can lead to inconsistent if not absent application of rehabilitative juvenile programs. Consequently, it is up to others to try to fill the void of which institutions, despite their best efforts, are not capable.
In some communities, 24-hour supervision is possible without committing a juvenile to a secure facility. For example, community residential centers have been found in some cases to reduce arrest rates of juvenile delinquents in some communities.
More experimental juvenile programs that expressly seek to keep children out of the public domain but still under the watchful eye of the community may also be effective in keeping children out of juvenile facilities and adult prisons down the road. Multi-systemic therapy setups founded around the United States have tried to approach child treatment in an all-encompassing way, insisting on services at home, school and elsewhere. However, quite evidently, parents, teachers, health professionals, and caseworkers would have to be on the same page when it comes to a child’s guidance.