You need to pay attention to several things, when setting up correctional facilities for juvenile offenders. This is because juvenile offenders have rehabilitation needs that are quite different from those of adult offenders. Thus, when setting up correctional facilities for juvenile offenders, you can’t go about it the way you’d go about setting up adult penitentiaries.
Firstly, the physical facilities in the juvenile correctional facilities have to be built with the needs of the juvenile offenders in mind. Unfortunately, this is something that is often ignored by the people who design juvenile correctional facilities. Sometimes, when visiting such facilities, you realize that they are structured like adult penitentiaries, causing the inmates great inconveniences.
Secondly, the staff members who are hired to run the juvenile correctional facilities need to be folks who have special training on how to handle juvenile offenders. It is always worth remembering that the juvenile offenders are, by definition, folks whose minds are still flexible. They are usually folks who haven’t yet gotten too deeply steeped in crime. With proper handling, they can be fully rehabilitated, and reintegrated into the mainstream society. With good rehabilitative strategies, it is actually possible to have a person who had a delinquent childhood serving me at, say, My Walmart outlet in the future: having gone through proper rehabilitation. But that is only possible if the people charged with the responsibility of handling juvenile offenders are folks who have the relevant special skills. Otherwise you easily end up with folks who only harden the juvenile offenders: graduating them from kids who were initially committing petty crimes, to big-time gangsters.
Thirdly, the rehabilitation programs (and day to day routines) in the juvenile correctional facilities need to be tailored to cater for the special needs associated with juvenile offenders. Again, this is another area where we tend to fail greatly. Sometimes, while visiting the juvenile correctional facilities, you realize that the rehabilitation programs and day to day routines are more or less akin to those found in adult penitentiaries. We are, of course, not saying that the juvenile correctional facilities should be run like five star hotels. The kids still have to be shown that crime has unpleasant consequences. But whatever is done needs to be done with full appreciation for the fact that we are dealing with kids. However delinquent they may be, however evil they may be, they are still kids.