Systems of Juvenile help to lower the rate of delinquency because; juveniles who are arrested do not repeat the same mistake again and are not taken backcourt. The fact that the majority of children in the community including those who live in the direst circumstances do not commit a crime have never been picked by police or even adjudicated delinquent is a clear indicator of the effectiveness in the juvenile justice system especially in the preventive programs.
A climate of fear in schools and communities at large due to rising cases of a juvenile is caused by just a handful of youth offenders and the juvenile justice system recommends changes ensuring juveniles are held more accountable for their conduct. The systems ensure the juveniles receive swift, appropriate, and fair consistent sanctions whenever they are adjudicated and if the juvenile appears in court again, the sanctions are increased.
The juvenile justice process has a restitution system and properly graduated sanctions that ensure a continuum of correction comprising of community-based programs as well as training schools. Efforts have been made to lower delinquency through the system of juveniles ensuring that, juveniles and the entire community are served adequately with resources and every child is followed with details of the juvenile offender. (Smith, 2003 pp27-34)
The juvenile system is effectively reducing delinquency
The systems intervene early to reduce the rate of delinquency by early identification of vulnerable children to serious and persistent delinquency and recommend a program that reinforces and preserves desirable community ties. The majority of juvenile offenders are brought to court, community service agencies, or school administrators when very young and so it helps the juvenile systems to deter them from future delinquent activities. Since the implementation of policies is not easy and running programs are not cost-free, the systems try to be cost-effective and avoid duplicating efforts that already exist. The systems have ensured that the quality of life for every citizen is improved especially for every child because most of those affected by juvenile crimes are other juveniles. (Debra, 2006 pp29-34)
Strategies in place to reduce delinquency
The current system has graduated sanctions with options that are variable and applicable to each new delinquent and which increases with an increase in child’s recidivism. The sanctions comprise secure programs in all judicial districts dealing with juveniles who require confinement on a short-term basis because any juvenile program works best if it is local and for the juveniles who require long-term confinement, they are put in training schools.
The system combines treatment with fair rehabilitation and reasonable sanctions thus increasing its responsiveness to match increasing juvenile accountability. For first-time nonviolent offenders, it gives immediate sanctions in programs that are nonresidential community-based but for violent offenders, the sanction can be residential and may include training in camps, schools, and secure community-based facilities. Programs have been put in place to ensure there are better treatment, family involvement, and social control. Since not all juvenile offenders qualify for graduated sanctions, the systems first classify juveniles and assess them to find out which type of sentencing is best for them.
For those who fit graduated sanctions, their benefits are easily realized if they are let to remain in their community, and this benefits state because the program is cost-effective compared to secure care programs. Statutory guidelines are implemented to help in deciding graduated sanctions best for the juvenile offenders that benefit both the child and the society at the same time. (Albanese, 2005 pp35-39)
For the efficiency of the systems, more councilors in the juvenile courts are hired to enable intensive services to be given in courts dealing with juveniles. This need is met through recommendations for expansion in budget allocation. Research has indicated that juveniles involved in court with intensive counseling show less rate of recidivism because their counselors have fewer caseloads and devote more time for the juvenile’s individual attention.
The counselors detect the problem of the child and intervene early according to the need of the child. Intensive counseling offered to children in their homes makes them have less recidivism and even those put in the community-based programs develop a positive working relationship between themselves and educators, counselors, probation officers, law enforcement, and other families. (Wilson, 2003 pp19-27)
Problems existing within the systems
One of the problems existing within the juvenile systems and has not been addressed is the failure to equip the systems according to the needs of a female juvenile. The risks in justice systems of juveniles affect girls more than boys due to behaviors that result in serious trouble. Girls are more exposed to problems related to mental and physical health, relationships with peers, issues of accountability, and traumatic events but boys are only affected by criminal offenses.
When we look at juvenile girls who are in trouble, we see the failure of the system in paying more attention and not committing extra resources where girls end up facing problems more than boys due to lack of public safety. This is an indication that the available facilities were built to cater to public safety in general without putting special consideration on females. Practitioners working with troubled girls experience a harder time because girls have multiple problems that are even more serious to address. (Champion, 2002 pp32-36)
There has also been lack of early assessment of the juvenile’s dysfunction within family backgrounds to find out the risks being faced. This is due to shortage in assessment devices to guide on the kind of treatment appropriate for children who end up in court. Even the few ones that are there are mostly not web based. Early signals are usually ignored and there is no assessment which would drive treatment and this causes massive disservice to female juveniles.
The offences that begin in early stages are ignored by court because of not taking seriously the crime that females commit and at the same time, the crimes committed by females can not be forgiven or ignored by the court which makes the situation of girls to be worse than boys. This denies the girls an equal opportunity with boys regarding services available in the justice systems. (Aaron, 2006 pp28-37)
Another problem concerns identification of mental health needs in the juvenile justice systems. There are no early interventions because the parents and schools cannot access proper resources before involving the youth into the justice system. This results into more youth joining justice systems where their involvement becomes even deeper. Public fear and zero tolerance policies in schools of juvenile offences usually push the youths into the justice systems to receive correctional facilities and no mental treatment at all. This high end of justice system may cause entry into adult criminal justice system.
There is also poor in-state secure mental health facilities to balance mental treatment needs of offenders with public safety need. Research indicates that, some youth with needs for mental health usually commit serious offences and pose a great risk to the public. Due to lack of security, several in-state residential facilities for treatment fails to accommodate youths who pose a risk to staff and other patients who are likely to run away for their safety. Those who have in-state facilities fail to have services that are adequate to be able to treat mental health and this makes the youths to be attended using facilities that are out-of-state causing them to be separate from their families. It also becomes very expensive for the family members to visit these youths due to the long distance between them. (Morris, 2004 pp45-52)
There is little data in the existing juvenile justice systems regarding those children with emotional disorders but estimated figure on such cases is about 60% of all those who are attended in the systems. Enough priority about the care of these children is not accorded in spite of the fact that the number has been rising day by day. The increasing tread come as a result of problems such as local health services that are insufficient to treat mental problems and increasing laws regarding the punishment of crimes committed by juveniles.
There is incarceration of children who have emotional disorders because of committing non-violent, status or minor offences without diverting them from systems of justice. They are not directed towards services that are community based and be given treatment as required along with proper education, support and advocacy to their families. Mental health care prevent youth from engaging into delinquent offences and from re-offending while intensive education with families at the onset of juveniles behavioral problems strengthens the members ability in caring for their youths at home.
Overcrowding has increased in juvenile systems which contribute to insufficient health care and inefficient classification of people into classes. Juvenile with mental problems become vulnerable to deplorable conditions due to increased vulnerability that make emotional disorders worse. It is not advisable for juvenile who have emotional disorder to be put in correctional facility because what is required is reasonable diversion.
In many juvenile justice systems, juvenile are beaten up and girls raped including gang violence as well as disproportionate minority of numbers. From around 1975, the systems in America have taken a reverse trend and most of them are biased along races. The ineffectiveness in the system is also caused by lack of consistence in structural system where it has transitioned to a punitive agency from a rehabilitative one. Drug culture and the resulting violence is another major problem where the drug industry in America has enlarged to an extent that, those areas of low-income experience youth’s involvement in drugs as a source of income and the culture is now an economy of its own.
Problems in the juvenile systems are products of what goes on outside the facilities because most of the juveniles are brought up in poor communities and receive no education. They are latter absorbed into the drug culture and violence where they become target of law agencies unfairly to some extent and also targeted by the juvenile systems. They finally fail to land into rehabilitative centers but into law enforcing institutions and when they are released, they find themselves back to their original point and in many cases being worse than before. (Terrill, 2005 pp57-63)
Relationship that exist between recidivism and juvenile correction
Correctional programs is the education beginning from basic literacy up to college degree and it is mostly offered to people who are at justice system of criminals including parole, county jail and federal prison. Correctional facilities have educators whom their operation is based on the principle that, it is possible to shape ideas as well as behavior in human beings thus making them progress to higher levels of awareness. These programs help juveniles in breaking cycles of criminal activity by offering to them knowledge and skills essential for success in their work and society at large. If the correctional program is efficient, it enables the juvenile to develop skills in decision-making and problem solving while they are in the correctional systems and also when they are released.
The most important goal in the correctional programs is reduction of recidivism. Efficient correctional programs helps the juvenile in being self-sufficient and be re-integrated back to society where he or she can be a more productive worker. Recidivism is the rate at which released juveniles return to correctional centers or jail. The confirmatory test for the success of the correctional programs is the ability of the system to prevent juveniles from going back to criminal justice systems.
The system offers ability to read that has relationship with recidivism because, juveniles who are not able to read recidivate within a shorter time compared with those who are able to read. Increase in education level of juvenile lowers recidivism. For example, A graduates from college recidivate less than a high school leaver. (Hughes, 2005 pp30-34)
Although there has not been verification of a direct relationship between crime and educational disadvantage, description of juvenile justice system population suggest relationship between poor literacy skills and juvenile crime. The more a juvenile receives education the less the probability of him or her to be re-arrested and the more likely he or she is to be employed. A juvenile correctional program ensures that, juveniles released are not counter productive because they do not have fundamental skills for them to secure jobs. Research indicates that juveniles that have undergone juvenile correctional program show up to 20% recidivism reduction compared with the general population in prison.
Delinquencies that exist in society are highly reduced by juvenile systems through use of preventive and rehabilitative programs. Youths with deviated behavior from the societal expectations are corrected through counseling and taught skills which they can rely on in securing themselves jobs after they are released. However, problems in the systems like being beaten and girls raped as well as lack of proper mental health facilities have inhibited the success of the correction.
Special systems should be designed to cater for girl’s juvenile cases because they have different behavioral problems from those of the boys. When the negative experience of the correctional program are combined to lack of work experience of the criminal, it makes the ex-offender encounter enormous problems and each time a barrier is removed, the ex-offender becomes a more productive citizen. (Howell, 2002 pp46-49)
Smith B. (2003): Juvenile justice processing: American journal of sociology pp. 27-34.
Albanese S. (2005): Dealing with delinquency: Bum ham Inc pp. 35-39.
Wilson C. (2003): The juvenile justice system: Waveland press pp. 19-27.
Champion J. (2002): Delinquency, processing and the law: Prentice Hall pp. 32-36.
Debra W. (2006): When the victim is a child: National institute of justice pp. 29-34.
Howell J. (2002): Juvenile justice and youth violence: SAGE publications pp. 46-49.
Aaron V. (2006): The social organization of juvenile justice: Transaction Publishers pp. 28-37.
Morris A. (2004): Restorative justice for juvenile: Hart publishing pp. 45-52.
Terrill R. (2005): justice systems in the world: Anderson Publishers’ pp. 57-63.
Hughes G. (2005): Youth justice: Ash gate publishing Ltd pp. 30-34.