The case against the used of jails for children rests on fact youngsters are still in process of development and subject to change; however large they may be physically or sophisticated behaviorally.  Placing them behind bars when the whole world seems to turn against them and belief in themselves is shattered or distorted merely confirms the criminal role they see themselves. Jailing can play directly into their hands by giving them delinquency status among their peers and encourages striking back violently at society upon release.

A younger or less sophisticated child whose problems are not deep-seated is more likely to be shocked into reform by jail than one with a serious record.  We can discover and begin to remove the underlying causes of behavior.  Harmful effects of an institutional experience may eventually surface in form of higher recidivism that effects everyone.