A report by a state task force recommended today that Gov. David Paterson close or significantly downsize state run juvenile detention facilities. A draft copy of the report obtained by WNYC, says the facilities are damaging young people and wasting taxpayer dollars.
Jeremy Travis, President of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, headed the task force and says the state must shift from a punitive approach to one that's therapeutic.
The report says 1,600 youth enter the facilities annually, costing the state about $200,000 a year per child. Travis says those resources should be reinvested in services for youth.
"This is a big challenge that we are laying at the doorstep of the state of New York here," he says. "Other states have made the shift and we have every confidence that New York State can make this transformation as well."