Using juvenile offenders as informants can be the opposite of rehabilitation: it keeps young people in contact with criminal networks and can exacerbate drug use and other dangerous behaviors. See this post on a Miami juvenile informant. But a new "restorative justice" approach in Texas offers a different model, in which juveniles charged with serious drug offenses are offered a chance at rehabilitation and skills training. Here's the NYTimes article: New Home for Juveniles Recruited to the Drug Trade. Almost no states regulate the law enforcement policy of turning young people into informants (see Dennis, Juvenile Snitches); the Texas experiment reminds us that the juvenile system is first and foremost supposed to be rehabilitative.
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