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Surprise: jail not good for kids

Should juvenile delinquents be taught a lesson by being made to spend some time behind bars? Probably not, according to research by economists from Brown University and MIT. They analyzed data from the Chicago juvenile justice system—and exploited the fact that judges are randomly assigned to cases—to determine the consequences of sending a juvenile to a temporary detention center versus putting him on probation. Compared to similar juvenile delinquents who were put on probation, those who were detained were less likely to eventually graduate high school and more likely to be incarcerated in adulthood.

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