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Juvenile Justice Scenario, Essay Example

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Essay

John Black, the youth offender in this scenario, would be an excellent candidate for working with first-time offenders.  Judging by the programs which John has gone through, he has a history of violent behavior, substance abuse and gang-related activity, which are all common problems for juvenile offenders.  The fact that he has gone through rehabilitation successfully would make him a good role model for other youth who find themselves in much as the same position as John.  Because he has been through the system and these various programs, John would have a good chance of reaching out to first-time offenders to help show them that, just because they have made mistakes in the past, does not mean that a successful future is not open to them.  As a parole officer in this scenario, I believe that it would benefit both the first-time offenders to be able to work with John, but would also benefit John himself by being able to give back to the kind of program that he himself as benefited from.

The Future of Juvenile Justice in America

The programs that John went through – programs such as anger management, substance abuse rehabilitation and gang deactivation –  are common parts of the juvenile justice system and are likely to become more common in the future.  The Coalition for Juvenile Justice (CJJ) in its recommendations for the Obama administration, recommend reauthorizing the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) which is designed to “reduce delinquency, uphold community safety, and prevent victimization”(Coalition for Juvenile Justice, 2008): the CJJ promotes keeping youth out of the  justice system as much as possible and directing them, instead, to programs designed to prevent and reduce delinquency; they also support enacting the Youth Promise Act: this stands for Youth Prison Reduction through Opportunity, Mentoring, Support and Education. It is legislation that would give funding to things like mentoring initiatives, after school programs, family strengthening services, and youth leadership development (Coalition for Juvenile Justice, 2008).

David Muhammad, in his article “A Road-map to the Future of Juvenile Justice”, considers the various efforts by many states, including California, Texas, Washington and New York to “provide effective rehabilitation services to support young people” and cites, for an example, the Positive  Youth Development (PYD) Program, which provides a “strengths-based approach” to working with youth.  He also talks about California’s program of Evening Reporting Centers, which provide an alternative to detention: youth are allowed to stay in their own homes, but have to report to the center after school,where they can do homework or take advantage of the facilities, and are escorted home in time to keep their curfews  (Muhammad, 2012).  This is all in an effort to help youths like John Black in  our example to be able to become productive and law-abiding members of society.

International Efforts in Juvenile Justice

The efforts in the United States at reforming the juvenile justice system seem to be in line with what is happening in the international community.  Had John been in another country, he might not have fared so well or had the opportunity to undergo the treatment that he needed: Organizations like Defense for Children International note that there are more than 1 million children in prison all around the world, often in inhumane conditions and many are there for offenses like begging and living on the street (Defense of Children International, 2010).   However, they also note hopefully that international efforts are being made to establish and maintain children’s rights around the world, and point to such documents as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, UN Rules for Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty, and UN Minimum Standard Rules for Administration of Juvenile Justice” (Defense of Children International, 2010).   Again, these efforts are at maintaining basic standards of child welfare and also at rehabilitative programs such as the ones John Black was able to benefit from.

Works Cited

Coalition for Juvenile Justice.  (2008) Safeguarding the Future: Federal Juvenile Justice Leadership for America’s Youth, Families and Communities. Retrieved from: www.juvjustice.org

Defense of Children International. (2010). Juvenile Justice. .Retrieved from: www.defenceforchildren.org/juvenile-justice.html

Muhammad, David.  (2012) A Road-map to the Future of Juvenile Justice.  New American Media Retrieved from: www.newamericanmedia.org/2012/08/a-road-map-to-the-future-of-juvenile-justice.html

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