Future of Juvenile Justice System Paper
Future of Juvenile Justice System Paper
Many aspects of the juvenile justice system work together to make sure that everything runs smoothly. Partnerships formed by law professionals, families, communities, and juvenile courts are very important to helping juvenile offenders turn their lives around. This report will examine the role community involvement, law enforcement, courts, and corrections are expected to play in the future of the Juvenile justice system. How important the private sector is as a support base for successful programs will also be revealed. Additionally, the role private agencies with incentives aimed at assisting state and local government with solid, well organized alternatives will be discussed.
Justification of a system aimed at Juvenile corrections will be detailed along with the challenges it often face due to funding, state budgets, and the commitment needed from professionals dedicated to research that measure trends and release data. Causation theories will be reviewed in an effort to demonstrate how professionals and researchers can use expert findings in developing programs aimed at dealing with problems associated with delinquency on a case by case basis. In conclusion, a summation of the collaborative efforts along with recommendations for improving the future of the juvenile justice system will be addressed.
It can be argued family and neighbors need to become more involved within the community in order to make sure that the youth are being taught essential life lessons in a positive manner. The most imminent program for the juvenile justice system is community involvement, and community based programs that can be beneficial for the juveniles. States should consider implementing more community based programs for first time delinquents through family interaction and deliver proper aids to the adults for assisting the young children. Additionally, the neighborhood should employ fundraising or be provided with some state assistance for community events that can deliver knowledge, and facts about the juvenile delinquency, and ways to improve recidivism.
For example, parents, community leaders, residents, and most importantly the youths, should get involved in community events to reduce recidivism and restore balance to communities. (Bilchik, 1998) Additionally, Bilchik contends the most successful programs for corrections are aimed at anti-drug programs, anti- social behavior programs, and delinquency at the school to prevent the young children from committing the crimes which can more likely reduce the number of juveniles when proper information is provided to the children. Bilchik asserts “that particular community or neighborhood should contribute about five dollars a month for initiating appropriate meetings, boot camps, and so on to assist the youngsters” (1998). He further notes, there are many gang members in few poor neighborhoods where children are forced to adapt to environments and communities infested with turmoil (1998). He suggests the implementation of programs in schools aimed at helping children identify right and wrong behavior.
Moreover, assistance from more community based alternatives rather than confinement facilities can be helpful in strengthening communities and reducing recidivism due to less juveniles being placed in confinement (1998). Paying attention to early signs of juvenile tension is essential to prevention and reform before the issues become unmanageable. This can be viewed as an essential tool for forming partnerships with families which would strengthen programs aimed at prevention.
The future of law enforcement in the juvenile justice system is very important. Law enforcement plays a very important role within the juvenile justice system. Today there are programs to help direct juveniles in the right path and to help those who have become a part of the system a chance to better their lives. There are programs today that help bring law enforcement and juvenile together. Programs such as D.A.R.E., The Boys and Girls Club of America, Youth Leadership programs, Youth Community Centers, Mentoring programs, After-School programs, and Family Support Services help bring positive changes to dysfunctional juveniles.
These programs provide an outlet to minors who have troubled lives and are headed down the wrong path. Without these programs and the help from law enforcement officials, juveniles would not have a way to escape from the negativity they see on a day to day basis. Law enforcement officials can be great role models. There are so many young kids who want to become police officers and seeing positive officers within their community can encourage them to pursue their dreams of becoming a part of law enforcement.
Law enforcement officers join programs to help school systems mentor the youth in their communities. Law enforcement officials that are assigned to schools are positioned to advocate for crisis intervention programs. Rehabilitating juveniles is the main focus of intervention programs. The involvement of law enforcement show juveniles and others within the communities that law enforcement does care and wants to help those in need. The future of law enforcement within the juvenile justice system seems to be promising. There are many programs that are established to help juveniles and other programs being created to further assist the needs of juveniles. Law enforcement and communities can actively impact courts which feel like alternatives aimed at helping juvenile charged with offenses are not always within the realm of thing. While the correction officers are there to house and monitor juveniles who are dealing with consequences of their actions and to assist juveniles in changing their behavior, it is important to have some type of structure to help them understand the importance of reform, rehabilitation, and the possibility of participating in future programs aimed at helping them grow.
In the state of Illinois, “Legislation signed Monday will require juvenile court judges to review additional factors before issuing sentences in Illinois, in the hopes sending fewer young people to state prison” (Schiffmann, L. 2011). Judges will need to evaluate mental health and educational needs before deciding if the youth needs secure confinement. By reviewing this information children have a chance at bettering their lives and not becoming career criminals. All states need to incorporate programs for youth to assist them with getting on track with their lives. In the state of Pennsylvania, a youth that commits murder is sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Children need to be rehabilitated if possible or at least given a second chance. Instead of placing juveniles in adult prisons for the remainder of their lives, experts in the field need to help these children turn their lives around. Also, placing these youth that have committed offenses need to be placed in programs if at all possible to assist them with learning how to live a proper life, obtain a job, and receive an education.
Truancy is a major issue with youth today, they are not attending school when they need to be, and the parents are not being held responsible for these actions. It is a parent’s job to make sure that their child attends school and is on time for classes. Having a separate court system for truancy may assist in the situation, but I believe that if a child is starting off with truancy, then they will possibly escalate. Even though it is costly, it is not unreasonable to exercise alternatives like placing juveniles under house arrest. It could prove helpful in assisting in preventing truancy, but also in keeping them from committing other offenses.
Corrections involvement in the juvenile justice system is a core requirement as an aid for the youth to change their behavior, and focus on their lives. Correctional programs for the juveniles are unique when examined state by state. However they are governed by rules aimed at the juvenile’s best interest. The state should sanction programs such as the example detailed in this educational system, behavior management model: "Discipline with Dignity, Futures Channel” Step 8: Youths in Juvenile Justice Facilities ( 2007). To be more specific in the educational system, the state should consider hiring as many teachers or educators as possible to assist juveniles with attaining knowledge and improving their reading and writing skills. By implementing programs with an emphasis on education, the government would be assisting corrections with improving the quality of education for juveniles in confinement. For example, the educators would be required to understand every juvenile’s way of learning so that they can develop, and challenge the transition towards improving their reading and writing skills.
Similarly, the premise from Step 8 asserts most of the juveniles come from areas that lack in education or their background lacks in educational opportunities (2007). With these issues affecting juveniles in mind, correction system should be required to employ more professional counselors to help these juveniles work out those issues.
Another program that the corrections should improve is behavior management programs which are aimed at improving student behavior and suggesting ways for them to maintain good social behavior with their families and communities. Programs could also benefit from implementation of strategies for employing more social norms aimed at developing their communal skills, adhering to aftercare practices, and staying out of trouble.
One example enlists methods that emphasize “Discipline with Dignity.” This program provides a structural method to identify behavioral problems, improve self-esteem, and take more responsibilities for making decisions. “Future Channel” is another example of a program that is made available by the corrections department for the juveniles through which the teachers are able to make connections between the concepts and skills of learning through advanced technology. These technologies employ computerized learning of Math, Science, Language Arts, and Writing.
The future of private sectors is of the utmost important to the criminal justice system, especially to those within the juvenile system whom will really benefit from the sectors. With more adequate training, the private sectors are and will continue to improve by adding in more child welfare and integration programs that can be enforced by Private Sector leaders. Even the leaders of the sectors would be more trained on how to deal with troubled juveniles and which program would best fit his or her need. Models For Change reveals:, “The program utilizes a multi-systems and multi-disciplinary approach in focusing on programs and practices that relate to children and youth who are known across systems of care, particularly juvenile justice and child welfare; also known as crossover youth” (MFC, 2010). Programs like these will concentrate on the juvenile’s issues and concerns, while developing ways to turn the adolescent troubled teen into a modern day individual.
The main purpose of the private sector is to bring forth future leaders of the several organizations to increase the system as they co-exist with crossover youth. The system will also show improvement in the operations as it will develop other means to help the trouble teens. Some of the new ways to help will consist of private sectors holding more training and rehabilitation classes like; leadership and team building skills, public service volunteering, and providing therapy free talk programs. With the sectors providing a better chance to rehabilitate and assist juveniles, the private sectors in the future will indeed be reformed for the better good. One fact that must be known is “the private corrections industry currently operates a relatively small proportion of total adult corrections and a larger share of juvenile corrections. In both arenas, the potential for growth is tremendous, as a rapidly increasing proportion of public funds are required to build and operate correctional facilities, thus leading to a need for more cost-efficient alternatives.
There is little doubt that the private corrections industry will increase significantly over the years that will result in the reformation of the current private sectors,” according to Cornell, Lissner, and Gable (1998). This premise will require specific rules and regulations administered by state and local officials aimed at keeping privatization programs in compliance in lieu of the juvenile’s best interest.
Throughout the past of the juvenile justice system there has been a continuous mantra used stating that the “free market” better represents the best solutions to our current social problems. The primary thought behind this “mantra,” is that the government, currently, is too big and is, therefore, inefficient. A solution to this is thought to be that it would be best to hand over issues normally handled by the government to private business because the profit motives would better guarantee results because there would be more “incentives” to making things work although some would argue, making money would be the goal and not the kids. And there are some programs operating that are proving those critics right.
Issues surrounding the involvement of privatization in juvenile justice has been addressed and documented in federal courts. One such instance is that of former judge Mark Ciavarell Jr. He and a fellow judge were involved in what was called the “kids for cash” scheme in which they received over $2.8 million in kickbacks (Richey, 20ll). Ciavarell had made a deal with the owner and builder of two privately-owned juvenile detention facilities in which he would direct juvenile offenders to these facilities as long as money was received in return. His goal was accomplished through the closing of the county owned detention facility. Once Ciavarell and his cohorts were found guilty of their poor judgment and use of the juvenile justice system, they were order to pay over $1.7 million in restitution and serve 28 years in prison. Once their sentences were handed down, all of Ciavarell’s previous adjudications were vacated and those juvenile records were expunged. This ended up being approximately 4,000 cases that were involved in this so-called racketeering scheme that sentenced 60% of these juveniles to detention facilities for profit (2011).
This case proves that involving the “free market” in juvenile justice has two key points that they seem to follow. The first point is that when the free market becomes involved, the seriousness of a juvenile’s offense is disregarded and they are sentenced to juvenile detention facilities in order to fill beds, or “quotas” set by privatization in order to ensure profit. The second point is that minor offenders, due to the lack of serious offenders, are being sentenced to these facilities in order to fill beds to, once again, ensure profit. It seems to be a reoccurring theme that crime, in the end, does pay. The issues concerning ethics and integrity of private group’s role in the future of the juvenile justice systems could have dire consequences in systems attempts to reduce recidivism.
Justification for the System
The need for juvenile correction and justice is very necessary in today’s modern society to increase influence of many societal changes that impact their lives socially and economically. Funding, reform and rehabilitation are just a few of the factors associated with juvenile corrections and delinquency Adults convicted of a crime may be imprisoned in one of the approximately 1,800 state, federal, local, or private prisons in America (Foster, 2006). Dean John Champion reveals, "juvenile courts are civil proceedings exclusively designed for juveniles, whereas criminal courts are proceedings designed to try adults charged with crimes” (pg 23, 2010).
Separating juvenile offenders from adult offenders is important to eliminating a criminal element. The best interest of the juvenile has been hailed as one of the most essential elements. The juvenile justice system offers many programs aimed at assisting them with obtaining some of the necessities they will need to improve real life goals.
Funding of the System based on trends
“Funding allows experts to develop programs and rehabilitation models aimed at turning most juvenile’s lives around. Over the years it has been proven to some extent that funding from state, local and community groups are essential in helping to bring juvenile disobedience under control. While it is important to have solid financial support for programs that encourage reform and rehabilitation, there must be some accountability for measuring which ones are successful and worth keeping. The use of private agencies as a mean for absorbing some of the cases gives states and local government options that puts less of a strain on their budgets. Advocates of privatization believe there should be an organized effort to rehabilitate juvenile offenders by transferring the responsibility to more agencies operating independently. Some of them require intensive support from community outreach and local law enforcement.
Trends and Causation Theories
While most people are painfully aware of the problems associated with juvenile crimes across the world, the causation and motivation of such acts is centered on many different opinions. Economics, society and social learning are just a few theories that seek to explain the principles and foundation surrounding crime. R. Roshier believes juveniles are just as capable of understanding right and wrong and should be held accountable for it due to the belief that is a matter of choice. He believes all people who choose to take the law into their own hands or break the law are clearly at the controls. There are some who will agree with Roshier’s premise depending on the age of the juvenile. Others will argue that the youngest offenders don’t also decide to engage in criminal acts freely and clearly. Dean Champion reveals in this week's text how much of the deviant behavior is due to the fact that these children have "little or no responsible parental supervision or control (pg 6, 2010)." Accurate information from research that link trends and causation theories can be helpful to many professionals who find themselves seeking new ways to help turn the juvenile offenders’ life around.
Modern society needs the juvenile justice system and corrections to influence troubled youth in a positive manner to change their ways. The system should consider methods that evaluate each juvenile based not only on the offense, but also the circumstances surrounding the actions community groups and programs have in teaching the youths in today’s society where the parents lack supervision and discipline. Researchers have shown that children with deviant behavior have come from families with little to no parental supervision and control. If the parents are not raising their children with the proper necessities to live their lives, or if the parents are criminals, then it is possible that the children from these families will also become criminals starting with status offenses and building their way up until there is nowhere for them to go.
The future of the Juvenile justice systems will only improve if its methods include more collaboration from all of the resources revealed, discussed and explored in this report. It is important to have a good relationship with schools, law enforcement and communities if an expectation of any objectives aimed at arresting the issue is to be successful. Having solid core values and relying on support from each other must survive the better, the worse, the agreements, the disagreements and most importantly; decisions that ultimately help many troubled adolescents, and juvenile offenders move past distractions that could affect their lives negatively for years to come. It is also important that law enforcement, communities, courts, corrections, the private sector, and programs led by private agencies work together in a professional and social mentoring setting to forge a partnership. Through these incentives they can share ideas on how to collectively build a level of trust that will survive strains that challenge the bond over the years. Essentially, both sides can expect better opportunities for tackling juvenile delinquency issues by diverting the attention away from the criminal element and see more long lasting bonds that reduce juvenile criminal behavior.
Bilchik, S. (1998). Guide for Implementing the Balance and Restorative Justice Model. Retrieved from http://www.ojjdp.com/Bilchik/guide-for-the-balance
Champion, D. J. (2010). The Juvenile Justice System: Delinquency, processing and the law (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Cornell, D., Lisner, A., & Gable, R. (August 10, 2012). Private Sector Corrections: The Promise of the Future. Retrieved from http://www.apcto.org/logo/cornellpaper!pdf
Foster, B. (2006). The Fundamentals (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Models for Change: The Center for Juvenile Justice Reform (CJJR). (August 10, 2012). Cerification Program for Private Sector Leaders. Retrieved from http://www.modelsforchange.net/calender/164
Richey, W. (2012, August). Kids for Cash - Judge sentenced to 28 year in Racketeering scheme. Retrieved from http://www.csmomitor.com/usa/justice/judge/racketerring
Roshier, R. (1989). Controlling Crime: Causation Theories (Rev ed.). Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books.
Schiffman, L. (August, 2012). New Juvenile Justice Laws Aims to Keep Young Offenders out of Prison. The Huffington Post, N/a(N/A), 16. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/16/new-juvenile-justice-law-_n_928...
Sheldon, R. G. (August, 2012). Privatization of Juvenile Courts Come Home to Roost. Retrieved from http://www.cjcj.orgpost/juvenile/justice/privatization-roost
(2012, August). A Comprehensive Juvenile Justice System: The Community role of the Juvenile Court [Video podcast]. The Community Role of the Juvenile Court. Retrieved from http://www.futurechannel.org