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Impact of the Youth Corrections Act

NCJ Number
T R Kane
Date Published
6 pages
Offenders incarcerated in Federal prisons under the Federal Youth Corrections Act (YCA) have tended to be violent and have had adverse impacts on the job satisfaction, morale, and turnover of the correctional personnel working with them.
YCA took effect in 1950 and was repealed in 1984. It used the medical model of corrections and aimed to provide specialized treatment to rehabilitate youthful offenders. The YCA population in Federal prisons has declined in recent years, but approximately 750 Federal offenders are serving YCA sentences. The consolidation of all YCA prisoners in three separate institutions in 1982 has provided an opportunity for intense study of these prisoners. YCA offenders comply with prescribed involvement in educational and vocational training programs, but they are less motivated than their non-YCA counterparts to take part in the programs. Housing them in centralized, homogeneous populations away from family and friends has also had adverse effects. Their volatility demoralizes the line staff responsible for their supervision and increases the likelihood of employee turnover. Blending younger and older inmates would provide a less volatile population. Geographic proximity to family and friends would also be desirable as a way of improving inmates' adjustment to the institution and to their subsequent release. Figure and 17 references.