In support of prisoners and prison justice activism in Canada
Lengthy prison sentences not a deterrent for youth

Study shows youth not deterred by long prison terms
Jan 15, 2008
Stark Raven Media Collective

A study by a group of criminologists shows that lengthy prison sentences do not deter youth from committing crimes.

The researchers from Simon Fraser University, the Justice Institute and the University College of the Fraser Valley, interviewed more than 500 serious and violent B.C. youths serving time. They found prison was more likely to bring youth deeper into the criminal world rather than deterring them from a life of crime.

The report published by the researchers shows that most hard-core youths don't weigh the benefits and costs of criminal behaviour because of their dysfunctional family settings. The vast majority of the jailed youth leave home or are placed in foster care by age 13. The toughest inmates were raised in environments where violence, abuse, drugs, alcohol or criminal activity were the norm. They were almost certain to continue committing crimes especially if they relied on B&Es or selling drugs for income.

The researchers reported that B.C.'s top court judges are not following the research when they concluded they tougher penalties would discourage youth criminal activity.

Sources & Further Articles:
Article In Canadian Bar Review