Juvenile detention centers are secured facilities used to house young people in trouble with the law. Youths awaiting either a trial or placement in another care facility are often placed in juvenile detention for security purposes.
It is estimated that over 300,000 juveniles are incarcerated within detention centers, and another 100,000 return to those facilities as they await legal action.
Juvenile detention centers are supposed to provide education, nutrition, healthcare, and recreation to all residents. But overcrowding is common, leading to tension between residents and staff, resulting in violence and suicide attempts.
"Time" magazine reported in 2009 that detention centers often increase bad behavior once incarcerated youths are released, a trend that follows them into adulthood. The article states that "those who ended up being sentenced to juvenile prison were 37 times more likely to be arrested again as adults."
The same "Time" article points out that when troubled juveniles are housed with other troubled juveniles, they influence one another, encouraging bad behavior instead of correcting it.