Juvenile Delinquency: Programs and Impacts

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Juvenile delinquency has always been considered as a psychological problem rather than a legal challenge which it particularly is. The question though remains, how can it be solved? Juvenile delinquency also known as “juvenile offending” is the situation where the minors engage in illegal activities. Juveniles are the young people who are below the age of the majority as the laws dictate (Loeber & Farrington, 2012). For most of the legal frameworks, they prescribe some procedures for dealing with the minors since they cannot be treated in the same way as the senior citizens. That is minding their maturity levels are different. Their treatments include being taken to facilities like juvenile detention center and juvenile courts. For juvenile systems, they are treated as civil cases instead of being taken as criminal cases (Andrews & Bonta, 2010). It helps the juveniles not to be exposed to some of the conditions that the senior citizens are involved. In the United States, a juvenile is someone who is below the age of 18 years, and they commit a crime that would have been taken as criminal if they were adults. Considering the intensity of the crime that a minor has committed, it is possible that the young person under the age of 18 be treated and even charged as an adult (Tittle, 2018).

In the recent past, a significant number of the youths have ended up arrested under the age of 20. That is different from how things have been in the past. This though is a reflection the zero tolerance by the authorities and the strict criminal justice system that has been put in place in the United States not the change in behavior to the negative. The juveniles’ crimes can be classified as status offenses, and these include drinking and smoking as underage, other classifications are violent crimes and property offenses. The rates of juvenile violent crimes though have continuously been reducing in the United States according to statistics provided by the government. It shows that the offenses by the minors are mainly not violent. The delinquency of juveniles can sometimes be considered to be adolescent behavior. It is the reason why the teens at this stage will not use means that will provoke violence. For them, they are only reacting to what the age would call for. For those who are violent at this stage, it is expected that they will grow with violent behaviors, which is why they are treated like adults in crime. They are at this stage said to have portrayed some antisocial behaviors.

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In this research paper, I will be endeavoring to explore the impacts of delinquency programs. That is whether they are helpful to the life of a minor or some of them are not goal oriented in making them better adults. The aim of every program should be to make sure that when they are adults they are better people, do the programs follow this system? This is where the research paper will revolve around.

Literature Review

Trends in Juvenile Delinquency

Puzzanchera et al., (2010), draws data from the national juvenile court data archive and reports almost 1.7 million cases of juvenile delinquency that are processed every year by the courts with the jurisdiction of the juveniles. There are also trends of juvenile delinquency that are included in the report and the status offense cases that were handled within different timeframes. Two of the chapters present approximates of the rates of delinquency cases that were processed by the courts of the minors around the year 2007. One of the cases that have been presented shows the volume and the rates of the issues of delinquency, characteristics of the juveniles that were involved and then the charges that were put on them. There is another chapter marks the flow taken by delinquency cases from the referral to the courts through the evaluation and processing of each point of decision making and the presentation of the data by demographic characteristics and the crimes that had been committed. There is the fourth chapter which is making a representation of the nation’s approximates of the crimes that were processed by the juveniles court.

From the data, it is imminent that the cases of juvenile delinquency have been increasing despite all the efforts that have been made by the authorities to establish the programs to cater for the minors and their progress in undertakings (Burfeind & Bartusch, 2015). It is imminent that there is a gap that needs to be filled, but then it is taking very long to locate the gap and link the problem with a solution. If there are no strict actions taken past the laws, it means that there will be continuous developments in the reduction of the juveniles’ crime rates. The program is not only intended to capture people who are in the wrong, take them to courts and then juvenile facilities as they wait for their term to end (Hirschi, 2017). If this is all that the programs were all about, there would be challenges in trying to curb the rates of criminal activities in the country. There requires being a method that is both punishing to those who are engaging in these crimes and controlling to those who have not yet got to the stage of adolescence (Brake, 2013). Such methods will be more apt than the ones which are only aimed at punishing and care less about those who have not yet been engaged in only results. What can be expected from such a situation is that there will be more people landing into the juvenile facilities and being put on the changing course, while in the outside world, the youths will continue being on the side of the wrong.

Gaps in Juvenile Delinquency

There is a gap that will require to be filled, and that is the long term goals gap. There always will be people who are focused on the short term goals while there are the people who will tend to have objectives of the long run. In such a department where it is the criminal justice that is in concern, there always be should be some long-run objectives (Ford & Blaustein et al., 2013). That should mean that all the efforts should be made towards solving or the problems that are running in the nations, and that should not be in the near future only, but something that should last. Most of the challenges that come up with most of the legal systems are that they want a quick solution for long-lasting problems. Such type of resolution will seem fashionable and the best when they are brought in place at the beginning. People will embrace them and term them to be the best, but the hailing will only last for a short while. It will take only time for the errors to be exposed and it will be time to go back to the beginning and try to architect some new decision. Such is a waste of both time and resources and loosing of the heritage and positive image of the department of criminal justice.

Criminal Justice System and Juvenile Delinquency

According to Sickmund & Puzzanchera (2014), the nature of the criminal justice system has been a significant issue of concern mostly when it comes to juvenile delinquency. There are a lot of things that are without the knowledge of the people in the programs that are supposed to mentor the youths towards being the best of citizens when they are done with their terms in the prison cells. It will take the efforts of the authorities to install a mindset that is positive and very different from the one that they steeped in the facilities with. It will be of no use when a minor is arrested for the first time, and then they are re-arrested. There are those who will view the government to be strict and with zero tolerance, but from a skeptic point of view, the government has failed its people and offers inadequate services. The government always should make sure that they focus their finances, ideologies and their time resources into the best direction because that is what the public expects from their authorities (Shaw & McKay, 2016).

A disbelief in the system will come in place after a very short while that the government shows that they have some loose ends in the ways that they make their decision and how firm they are to them. At no point should an administrator not be able to demonstrate their know-how when it comes to a decision that they have architected in place. Such would be to mean that it was not supposed to be in place for the first time. It is something that can be proven in this issue, despite the government introducing some new rules, it will be very hard to convince the public why there are still high rates of juvenile delinquency (de Vries et al., 2015). People are still succumbing to the minors while the authorities are saying to have brought in the best of services for the people. It will lead to the people questioning about what their government can do. The people who are in charge should be able to tell why a program is not working since to place it in; they must have had a good strategy that had a timeframe.

Every goal should have a time limit that is placed on it before it is achieved, without the factor of time, it will be hard to evaluate whether the objective as set was achieved or it failed. Lack of a time frame is just a consolation of the fact that things will happen. The latter also means that a person has failed in the early stages of their goals. It will take a lot of efforts by the governments to come up with the best of programs, but if the course is worthwhile, it will be worth waiting for and even utilizing the available resources. For a plan that is aimed to be successful and to solve things in the long run, it does not matter the amounts of resources that will be used, nor does it matter the time that it will take, what is more important is the impact that will come with the decision (Sykes & Matza, 2017). And it is imminent the more the time and the funds that a program uses, the same rate it is expected to be successful. The hopes to get the best out of the program by the people will always be high, and the results will always be compared with the resources that were used.

Juvenile Delinquency and School Relations

Fabelo et al. (2010), juvenile delinquency is something that is school-based. Most of the juvenile activities that the adolescent youths are engaged in are related to their school background. At the age that most of the children start participating in Juvenile activities, they are in their school life. It is either they are rebellious at this stage or for some they even might have quit their schooling, but for all of them, it is the ages that they are supposed to be under the instruction of their teachers. Hence for the authorities of the country who are in place, the first place that they should channel their resources and efforts is in school. If the children are well catered for in school, then there are some of the behaviors that they will not engage in (Bartlett & Easterbrooks, 2012). It becomes tough to have a point where the school would love to make the children some better citizens, but they lack the support of the government. Some of the policies that the government should bring in for the people will not always necessarily be direct policies that they have to shower on the life of people directly. Some of them will have to come through other stakeholders who are still a part of the government. In this case, the school fraternities are the best solution that would be brought into use by the government for the people.

At the youth age where most of the minors are introduced into crime, they are at a point of their lives where they should be having most of their time should be spent by the teachers. At adolescent, the time that a student spends with teachers is even more than that spent with their parents. Hence it should be realized that the teachers at this point are the most significant factor that can be used (Petrosino et al., 2013). The students are with the teacher on the whole day’s timeframe and can be able to change or moderate the way the student thinks and how they do things. For most of the Juveniles, they have a chance to change, but they have no person to facilitate their change. The only people whom they have around are their peers who are only capable of getting things worse even if they are of the same class of offenders (Caldwell, 2016). Thus it would be more apt if the teachers were given programs and schemes by the government to help in making the children not only educated in class but also reasonable past the door of the class. That way the rates of juvenile delinquency will have been dealt with adequately without having to use the most critical methods and a lot of finances (Hoeve et al., 2012).

Intervention Programs and Strategies

In the past decades, researchers have been engaging in different projects to try and come up with the best intervention strategies and programs approaches that can promote pro-social development while reducing the delinquency rates. In their research, they have been able to yield some fruits to the issue.

Peter Greenwood, a researcher, says that preventing delinquency do not only save the lives of the young people from being wasted by the criminal activities but also it prevents the onset of the criminal careers when they get to adulthood. Hence on then overall it is a benefit to the society where safer and disciplined generations are given the opportunities to grow and blossom. It is also an advantage to the nation in the financial and peace aspects. The due cost of arresting, prosecuting, incarcerating and treating the juvenile offenders ends up draining the nation billions of monies. They are amounts that could have been channeled in the society to do other constructive works (Bartol&Bartol, 2014). Hence when there is juvenile delinquency, the federal government can save on their finances while us maximizing them on other duties which might be of more vital importance. It would be a better plan for the government to invest in delinquency from a younger age all through to the middle age generation rather than spend heavily on deploying a military workforce. In this essay are the most effective delinquency intervention and prevention programs.

As per the argument raised by Greenwood, the researchers have identified some delinquency prevention programs, and there are more which are up to now being tested. There are methods though that will tend to be better than the others and he explains which the best programs are and how one can be able to determine that. Greenwood has also offered a guideline on how their working jurisdiction can be shifted from one practice to the other (Thompson & Bynum, 2016).

Home-Based Programs

According to Hawkins & Wei (2017), the most successful programs are those that are structured to prevent the youths in delinquent behaviors even before going to the intervention stage. One good example is where there are home visiting programs whereby they focus on the pregnant teens and their infants who at the peril of missing their education and even cannot even afford their primary need. This programs will act as a guideline to the other teens and also will serve as a motivation factor to those who have already fallen in the trap. They do not have to give up.

School Based Programs

Secondly, there are school-based programs. They are meant to deal with the students who are getting into while others are yet to have tasted the criminal life. For example, there are peer counseling and motivational programs that are common in schools. There are very man students who end making a turnaround in their lives after hearing of what the consequences might be. There are also those who will cut their quench from substance abuse (Siegel & Welsh, 2014). With the programs, the rates of school dropouts and antisocial behaviors have also decreased substantially. That means that the school programs also have an immense effect on the society behavioral climate.

Community Based Programs

The community-based programs are a third classification which is also a useful program in making sure that the society has changed for the better. They prevent the offenders who are in their first time from to make it a regular encounter with the justice system (Bartol&Bartol, 2014). The most community programs which are successful have enhanced growth from the family level. That is where one might talk to their younger one about the dangers of a particular engagement or the other.

Every delinquency prevention and intervention program is aimed at having a better society. All the programs as discussed are worth using to develop a crime-free environment. It is more significant though to use programs that are more prevention-oriented before even getting to interventions. That is why youth delinquency interventions programs tend to be more substantial.

3.0 The Existing Gap

  • -justification of the problem
  • -are there existing solutions
  • -if there are, are they ample or scarce


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