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CrimeCausation and Diversion
One of thepredominant types of juvenile prevention programs in the State ofArizona is the truancy arbitration program. The aim of this programis to minimize the number of juvenile court cases (Pelletier &Russell, 2015). Therefore, it was designed to rehabilitate first-timeoffenders. The charges against such offenders are dismissed followinga successful completion of the program and an indication of a changein behavior. This programs also provide time for the court to focuson serious crimes. By comparison, the State of Arizona also uses theprogram for the at-risk students to prevent juveniles from adoptingcriminal tendencies because of their physical, psychological, andemotional vulnerabilities. Students who are at risk include thosecoming from foster homes, orphans, students who faced traumaticexperiences in the past, and students from poor households. However,modern policy makers in the education sector have labeled everystudent as being at risk of one or more forms of influence to engagein juvenile delinquencies.
How do the Programs Reduce Juvenile Delinquency?
Truancy arbitration programs are meant for juveniles who havecommitted crimes that can be categorized as less serious. Such crimesare considered as signs indicating that students have been influencednegatively and are likely to engage in serious activities such asdrug peddling and robbery with violence among others (Pelletier &Russell, 2015). It is widely considered that a student at that stagecan be rehabilitated. Court cases often lead to jail, but do notoffer comprehensive rehabilitation approaches. In most cases, truancyarbitration programs are collaborations with states and schools toprovide the best way if dealing with children aged between 6 and 15years. They can be implemented at the school or community level. Theycomprise of a combination of specific interventions such ascounseling, assessment of students’ interests in education,motivating students to focus on education and related activities suchas sports to reduce crime participation, and engagement in communityprograms among others.
The definition ofat-risk students vary from one social construct to another. In somestates, all students are considered as at risk because they are notcapable of making informed choices and susceptible to externalinfluences (Pearson & Naug, 2013). Likewise, students with lowacademic grades can be considered as at risk because they are likelyto be convinced that only crime can help them secure a successfulfuture. Adult students are also considered at risk because they mayhave picked unwanted behaviors during the period when they were outof school. Lastly but not least, at risk students includes those whocome from household without adequate resources (Pearson & Naug,2013). In most cases, they are convinced that it is theirresponsibilities to find money and uplift their statuses. Either way,this program aims to prevent such students from participating incriminal activities. The predominant approach used in this program isenhancing the interest and focus of such students towards academicsand related activities such as sports. The rationale is that theywould be preoccupied to think about crime.
Objectives and Core Beliefs of the Programs
The objective oftruancy arbitration program is to provide crime deterrence amongjuveniles by facilitating behavior change (Hazen, 2012). The minoroffenses are treated as cues and used to launch appropriateinterventions such as counseling and increased educationparticipation among others. The core belief of this program is thateach offense portrays the attitudes, perception, and adjustment inbehaviors among the offenders (Hazen, 2012). Counseling sessions areused to probe such beliefs further to establish facts, subsequentlyusing them to design and implement appropriate behavior changeprograms. The assumption of the program is that students who havecommitted less serious offenses have not yet been influenced deeply,thus can be rehabilitated. By comparison, the objective of programsfor at-risk students focuses on preventing on helping such studentsto overcome the negative influences at school and within thecommunity. The core belief of this program is that such students arelikely to participate in crime compared others (Pearson & Naug,2013). Therefore, the assumption is that they can be prevented fromparticipating in crime if they are identified early and engaged inconstructive programs in academics and sports.
The Role of the Law Enforcement Agency and otherKey Participants
In truancyarbitration programs, the law enforcement agency is responsible fordetecting and arresting juveniles. They are also working with otheragencies to determine whether the seriousness of the crimescommitted. Additionally, they refer juveniles accordingly following asuccessful categorization of their crimes. They provide follow-upservices to determine whether students have changed their behaviors.By comparison, the law enforcement agency ensures that the mostat-risk students do not participate in crime by countering theimpacts of the sources of negative influences in the community.
Truancyarbitration programs and the programs for at-risk students are themost effective juvenile crime reduction programs because they focuson redressing the risk factors. For instance, truancy arbitrationprograms delve into the attitudes and perceptions of first-timeoffenders with the aim of changing their behaviors. This approach islikely to reveal how they developed crime tendencies in the firstplace. Correspondingly, programs for at-risk students acknowledgesthat such students are vulnerable. Therefore, the programs seek toenhance the ability of such students to resist negative influences.
Hazen, N. (2012). An exploratory viewof the juvenile arbitration program of Aiken County, SouthCarolina. International Social Science Review, 87(3/4),102.
Pearson, A. G., & Naug, H. (2013).Identification of at-risk students and strategies to improve academic success in first-year health programs. A Practice Report.The International Journal of the First Year in HigherEducation, 4(1), 135-144.
Pelletier, A. & Russell, A. (2015). Truancy Reduction andPrevention: The Impact of Provider Contact in Intervention Efficacy.Journal of Juvenile Justice, 4(2), 123-132.