Beyond the Fence

Beyond the Fence

The South Carolina Juvenile Justice System was a model of effective new programs, but budget cuts are undermining progress. (NYT)

The South Carolina Juvenile Justice System was once known as a dangerous place where children were thrown together regardless of the severity of their crime.

Over the last decade new programs have expanded counseling and education, and the repeat offender rate has decreased dramatically. Rather than being locked up, many children are now sent to wilderness activity camps, group homes or after-school programs.

But many of these advances are being undermined by the deep economic recession and some fear the state may slip back to its shameful past.

This New York Times video looks at the issue in South Carolina and includes interviews with young offenders, counselors and the director of the department of juvenile justice who oversaw many of the positive changes in that state.

Depleted coffers are resulting in similar crises across the country as state officials are forced to pare down programs intended as alternatives to old-fashioned “behind the fence” incarceration.

CHANNEL: New York Times

Length: 6:27

By Jigar Mehta, Peter S. Goodman & Rob Harris
Additional Videography by Brent McDonald