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Juvenile Delinquency, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 716

Essay

Recent years have shown an increasing trend in the incidence of serious crime by juveniles involving more violent acts, such as murder, which are often related to drugs, gangs, or both. Juvenile crime or juvenile delinquency as others refer to it is an encompassing term denoting various offenses committed by children or youths under the age of 18. The issue of juvenile delinquency is a complex one that has no simple solution. However, it is clear that collaboration and a certain degree of involvement is required from all members of the society or community starting from within the families and extending to schools, community groups, government entities as well as private organizations.

The police department plays several roles within the juvenile justice system. They are considered as gatekeepers and are responsible in apprehending individuals, monitoring arrested individuals and subsequently referring them to rehabilitative programs. Similarly, the state is certainly one of the main elements that play a role within the juvenile justice system. It has initiated policies that are aimed at finding a solution to address the increasing number of delinquents. A few decades back, juveniles have been treated differently from adults. Thus, juveniles who commit criminal acts were tried in different courts and are mostly incarcerated at juvenile detention facilities that aim to rehabilitate and protect them. However, it is becoming a national trend to transfer juveniles to be tried in an adult criminal court, particularly influenced by the severity and the nature of the crimes they committed. The consequences of being tried in an adult court consist of more stringent penalties such as maximum sentencing. Judges proceeding cases within the juvenile court also have the authority to transfer juvenile offenders to be prosecuted as an adult criminal even when a hearing has been made initially at a juvenile court.

The Department of Justice is responsible for developing and implementing programs that allow juvenile offenders to eventually rejoin society. Each state, however, may have varying programs and strategies but the most common method in the treatment of offenders are largely done through community treatment or institutionalization. In community treatment, the juvenile offender is placed under probation or directly supervised by a juvenile court officer. In some cases, the community treatment is implemented through issuance of an order to perform public service works or by some other means such as making a payment to the involved victims. Meanwhile, offenders who are detained are assigned to various programs, largely based on their age, availability of the program, the offender’s educational level and needs, the offender’s maturity and the gravity of the offense he committed. Examples of these programs include substance abuse treatment, anger management, psychological counseling and evaluation, and sex offender rehabilitation program. These programs are aimed at teaching juvenile offenders to effectively interact with other people and teaching them appropriate techniques for problem-solving, responding to peer pressure and avoidance of future delinquent actions. Some individuals also believe in providing juvenile offenders the necessary instruction and training to acquire job skills. Acquiring job skills increases the likelihood of juveniles becoming productive individuals upon their release. The programs aim to change those who want to change. Those who are trained and successfully acquires new job skills are thus, likely to develop the self-esteem essential to a normal, integrated personality. Equally important is family participation geared towards adequate support and participation. Parents are taught effective ways to discipline children and resolve conflicts, and to have better communication skills. The skills training was found useful in strengthening the bond between the parent and child, improving parental discipline and reducing family conflict which are important considerations when the time comes for the juvenile offender’s release from the institution. There is definitely much hope for offenders with more programs being envisioned under the justice system to put them back into the mainstream of society.

References

Bartollas, C., & Schmalleger, F., J. (2011), Juvenile delinquency (8th Ed), Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon

Belenko, S. et al. (2004). Drug and Alcohol Involvement among Minority and Female Juvenile Offenders: Treatment and Policy Issues; 15(1): 3 – 36.

Loeber, R., Kalb, L. and Huizinga, D., Juvenile delinquency and serious injury
victimization. Juvenile Justice Bulletin. Washington, D.C.; United States Department of Justice.

Mercer L. Sullivan. Jan 2004. “Youth Perspectives on the Experience of Reentry.” Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 2: 56 – 71.

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