In theory, spending time in jail should certainly impact the rate at which young offenders are re-arrested. One would think that the deterrent of knowing they could be arrested would keep people from breaking the law. In this sense, jail time is sometimes viewed as a means of reform, by which someone learns about the consequences of their actions and decides to change their ways.
Unfortunately, studies have found that this doesn’t work at all and that the impact on the re-arrest rate is exactly the opposite of what you would expect. Young offenders who have been incarcerated in the past are the most likely to be arrested again. Even someone who committed a crime but avoided jail time is less likely to face the same situation in the future.
It can ruin their future
The reason that jail time does this to young offenders is that it can actively work to ruin the future that they were trying to create for themselves. It causes them to leave school, for instance, and they may never return. It could give them a permanent record that makes it difficult to get a job. It can remove them from their social groups and eliminate what little stability they have.
All of this means that the person who has been released from incarceration is far worse off than they were before arrest. They may turn to something like trafficking illegal drugs simply as a way to make ends meet, feeling that they have no other options in their life. You can clearly see that the intended impact didn’t take place and that they would be better off if they had never been incarcerated in the first place.
That’s just one reason why it’s so important for people to understand their legal options if they are facing arrest.