CommunityTreatment of Juvenile Offenders
CommunityTreatment of Juvenile Offenders
Theprimary arduous task facing the juvenile court system has to do withthe reintegration and transition of juveniles from correctionalinstitutions to the community. One of the biggest problems is thedetermination of the sufficiency of the community-based programs(Siegel & Bartollas, 2016). This paper looks into theeffectiveness of these programs based on evidence-based practices,youth characteristics, the recommended improvements to the courtsystem and the juvenile crime prevention. A brief review of theprograms will run.
Manyyouths commit offenses and leading to their arrest. The numbersincrease year by year. This increase has resulted in the juvenilejustice system being overwhelmed. As a consequence of these figures,the number of the juveniles released into the society is high. About100, 000 juveniles are released from correctional facilities on ayearly basis (Siegel & Bartollas, 2016). The number could behigher since the amount of time spent in these establishments is lesscompared to that spent by adult offenders. Successful managementprograms are crucial in the juveniles’ reintegration. Siegel andBartollas (2016) note that the relapse rates for the ones who did notparticipate in community-based programs are as high as 25%. The mostproductive programs are the evidence based ones.
Whilethese community-based programs are the best, they are oftenunder-utilized. The underutilization occurs because these programshave to be research based. Siegel and Bartollas (2016) point out thatonce done, the characteristics of these programs must be tailored ormade to be complementary to the youth and their presenting problems.It is carried out by proper identification of the youth that isappropriate for program depending on the community resources.
Theexistence of interchangeable terms presents a challenge inimplementing these model programs. The justice system has to come upwith a universal language. Post-release programs includeresearch-based, best practice based and evidence based programs. Itis vital to examine the differences and similarities so that thejustice system can choose the programs that are complimentary to theunique needs of the juveniles (Siegel & Bartollas, 2016).Researchers have endorsed evidence-based programs within thecommunity settings as opposed to institutional or residentialsettings.
Thejuvenile justice system deals with:
Juveniledelinquents.These are juveniles who have committed acts such as burglary orassault, which would be a criminal offense if committed by an adult.
Statusoffenders.These are juveniles whose behaviors such as running away from theirhomes, incorrigibility or school truancy would not be considered as acriminal offense if committed by an adult.
Variousplayers make a series of decision points. These include the police,prosecutor, court intake workers, judges, probation officers, andtreatment managers. These groups weigh the existing problem orsituation with different degrees of discretion and then make adecision on the child`s situation (Siegel & Bartollas, 2016). Thedecision may include doing nothing at the moment or negotiating anagreement with the child’s parents, or formal processing throughthe justice system. Extreme decisions such as removal of the childfrom his or her home may happen in some cases. The administration ofjuvenile justice depends on some target goals which includecompetency development or rehabilitation (Siegel & Bartollas,2016). This development can happen in addition to punishment andpublic safety protection.
Communitytreatment refers to interventions sought whose similarity is thatthey serve as alternatives to institution detention or placement inthe major correctional facilities. The most common one is probation.Other community interventions include home detention, diversion,restitution, community service, day treatment services, and communityresidential placements. Communities may also come up with delinquencyprevention strategic programs such as drug abuse resistance educationin recreation programs, schools, and even youth development programs(Siegel & Bartollas, 2016). Components of the juvenile justicesystem may be part of such initiatives. Community treatment programsthat have direct links to the courts may prevent the juveniles fromarrest while awaiting the court hearing.
Comparedto institutional placements, community treatment programs are lesscostly have a potential to address a broad range of issues and areless disruptive to the family structure. This treatment depends onsome assumptions. Delinquent behavior happens due to some factorslike environmental ones. Reduction of delinquency may occur throughthe strengthening of the juveniles’ bonds to the school, family,and other community institutions (Siegel & Bartollas, 2016). Thefamily-like settings provide an appropriate context to rehabilitatethe youth.
RecommendedImprovements to the Juvenile Crime Prevention and the Court system
Positivedevelopment should be encouraged by concentrating on the juveniles’usefulness, competence, influence, and belonging. The justice systemshould abandon the original deficit-based models that highlight theoffender’s wrongdoings and flaws (Siegel & Bartollas, 2016). Onthe other hand, definite development highlights positive views,strengths and excellent characteristics to encourage good living.
Recognitionand Management of Mental Illness
Somejuvenile offenders have a mental illness. Most of them show signs ofanxiety, depression, and aggression. Systems should be put in placeto help in screening and treatment of mental illness for youthoffenders (Siegel & Bartollas, 2016).
Thecourt systems can play a crucial role in improving the juvenilejustice system. Initiatives such as the creation of youth courts arecrucial. These courts employ positive energy, attitude, and pressureto encourage the youth to abstain from any wrong doing (Siegel &Bartollas, 2016).
Effectivetreatment of juvenile offenders by the community plays a crucial rolein their reintegration. The program chosen should take into account anumber of factors for the benefit of the youth. Mental illnesscheckups prove to be crucial as some of these offenders suffer fromconditions like depression and anxiety. Improvement of the courtsystems and juvenile crime prevention will aid in the proper handlingof juvenile delinquents.
Siegel,L. J., & Bartollas, C. (2016). Correctionstoday.Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.