When a teenager gets in trouble with the law, he or she will typically not be tried or convicted as an adult. Instead, teenagers face the possibility of being sent to a juvenile correctional facility. While the intent of the juvenile justice system may be to rehabilitate young people who have gotten in trouble with the law, there is evidence that the system is dangerously flawed.

According to a study co-authored by a scholar at MIT, teenagers who are subjected to incarceration are more likely to experience negative outcomes as they grow older.

The study, which was conducted in Illinois, looked at tens of thousands of individuals in their teens to examine their long-term outcomes. The results showed that when all other factors were equal, teenagers who had been incarcerated in the juvenile system were 13 percent less likely to graduate high school. More damning, however, was the fact that the rate of adult incarceration was 23 percent higher among individuals who experienced juvenile incarceration.

If your child is facing charges that could lead to incarceration, it is imperative that he or she have experienced legal representation. Spending time in a juvenile correctional facility could profoundly affect the remainder of his or her life. Not only could incarceration negatively impact the child’s ability to succeed in school, but it could be the gateway to an adulthood filled with more serious legal issues.

A New Jersey criminal law attorney could work on your child’s behalf in an effort to convince the court that it is in his or her best interests to receive a sentence that includes a rehabilitation program rather than incarceration.