He found that, like in psychiatric centers, juvenile correctional facilities have no basic school curriculum or mental health and behavioral support for adolescents. Many of the young patients in psychiatric units end up in juvenile facilities, a track similar to the school-to-prison pipeline many students in public schools fall into.
Gagnon says there are similarities in terms of who ends up in the juvenile justice system. In the U.S., it’s kids from poor neighborhoods who are at high risk of becoming involved in dangerous situations, more often African-American and Hispanic teens. In South Africa, “black or coloured” youth end up in prison in greater numbers than white youth, which Gagnon notes is a remnant of apartheid.