We’ve discussed why minors can benefit more from rehabilitation versus juvenile correction centers. This blog covers the physical, social, and psychological impact of juvenile offenders who are sentenced to adult prisons specifically. Currently 10,000 minors are in adult prisons.

Sexual Abuse

The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 reveals that “children are five times more likely to be sexually abused in an adult prison, often within the first 48 hours.” Six years later, the 2009 National Prison Rape Elimination Commission Report states that minors are still more likely than any other group in prison to face sexual abuse. In 2011 to 2012, the National Inmate Survey reports that 1.8% of 16 and 17 year-olds are sexually abused by adult inmates.


Recidivism is defined as the likelihood of a criminal to reoffend and return to prison. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that juveniles in adult prisons are 34% more likely to be re-arrested. Campaign for Youth Justice reports this is the result of children being provided with fewer services and exposed to adult criminals. A 2005 survey from the Bureau of Justice confirms that 40% of prisons have no educational services. Only 11% of prisons provide special education services and as little as 7% provide vocational training.

Mental Health

The University of Virginia School of Medicine studied sixty-four 16 and 17 year-old male inmates in adult prisons. They provided them mental health screenings and found 51% scored above the highest clinical cutoff, or the “warning” range. 54%-70 scored around the “caution” scale. Campaign for Youth Justice finds that youths housed in adult prisons are 36% more likely to be suicidal.

At Garcia Law, we understand the traumatic impact prison can have on a child. If your child has been arrested for a crime, it’s vital to get legal representation as soon as possible. Our expert attorneys will fight for the future of your son or daughter. Contact us today.