Date of Conferral







Dr. Sandra Caramela-Miller


Juvenile Detention Center Effects on Futures of At-Risk Youth


Jennifer L. Turner

MS, Walden University, 2014

BS, University of Maryland University College, 2011

Submitted in Partial Fulfillment

of the Requirements for the Degree of

Doctor of Philosophy

Forensic Psychology

Walden University

August 2019

Many juvenile offenders return to the justice system after serving their incarceration sentences. Detaining youth has a negative impact on their mental health, education, employment, and ability to secede from a criminogenic life course. Identifying detention center effects on youths' futures can provide further insight on why the current approach does not successfully deter youth from secondary delinquency. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore future effects on incarcerated youth. A qualitative research design using a phenomenological paradigm was used to investigate study constructs. Labeling and social learning theories served as theoretical frameworks. Labeling theory was used to describe impact on youth after they receive a label of juvenile delinquent. Conceptualization on learned criminal behaviors in incarceration environments was made using social learning theory. Data was collected from personnel directly involved with juvenile incarceration, release, and rehabilitation. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were used for data collection. Coding software, bracketing, and concept mapping were implemented for data analysis. Detention centers attribute to a decrease in abilities required for youth to become functioning society members. Implications for social change include enhancing knowledge for professionals working to rehabilitate juveniles in effort to increases ability for future success. Participants specifically noted a lack of collaboration and understanding on how to implement evidenced-based practices into juvenile offender rehabilitation. Collaboration between the JJS, detention center staff, parents, and community programs is necessary to address this social problem.

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