Understanding of Juvenile Justice System

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The juvenile justice system was originally established to rehabilitate the youth and provide opportunities for them not to fall back in prison. The main question here is, how does using behavior rehabilitation in juvenile justice systems across the country reduce the occurrences of juvenile delinquency? The juvenile justice system could be a strong system active in recidivism. However, within the past few decades it has focused on punishment rather than rehabilitation and equal intervention for youth.

There are many important things that can show the juvenile justice system is either competent or incompetent in these approaches such as the: school-to-prison pipeline, Barron County Restorative Justice Programs, first-time juvenile offenders, Graham vs. Florida, examinations of risk and need scores to implement techniques for rehabilitation across supervised groups, and lastly, psychological and neurological approaches to juvenile delinquency allowing us to see a medical perspective.

The school-to-prison pipeline are the practices on policies that have to do with the children being put into the juvenile justice system. One of the reasons why many juveniles are ending up in the juvenile system is because the pipeline beginning in the school system. Many juveniles end up in the system when there were alternative sources to resolve an issue that doesn’t involve missed class time or having to be outside of the educational environment at least.

A recent article focused on School Resource Officers (SRO’S) being placed on school grounds originally as a form of protection for the student body. After a period, they found that they have been misused and are now being viewed to introducing students to the juvenile justice system. Students have even been arrested on school grounds for civil disputes that could have simply been resolved with a meeting with the principal or a peer mediator.

The chief judge in Clayton county, Georgia has spoken out about missing out on very important and “scary” cases due to small civil manners, they can’t even classify a misdemeanor. The chief judge, “has become an outspoken opponent of police in schools and the school-to-prison pipeline after placing cops on school grounds resulted in eleven times as many students getting sent to juvenile court. ” It is solely because a student did not follow something properly and they got referred.

There have also been racial disparities that have been identified when looking at suspensions, detentions, referrals, and expulsions. According to the U.S. Department of Education certain states and school districts have been working on implementing and passing certain jurisdictions to prevent youth from encountering the juvenile justice system so they can have a better outcome in the future.

‘Rehabilitation happens when teenagers are forced to connect to their communities and confront their mistakes.” -Joaquin E. Diaz DeLeon

The community has always affected our youth whether it be in a positive or a negative manner. There has always been a multitude of ways to influence a person whether it be by advertisements at your local corner store or on the billboards that you see driving on the high way. It could also be from your very own home. You could have had everything you every wanted and just fell ashtray or you could have simply not had anything you ever needed and simply cried out for help in the wrong manner.

Mentoring has been an effective way with communicating with the youth without them feeling as if you are obligating something. There have been many programs like Big Brother Big Sister, Boys and Girls Club, The Villages of Family and Children, along with Compass Youth Collaborative that decrease the chances of youth steering in the wrong direction. However, in 1999 Barron County changed their history.

Barron County’s Restorative Justice Programs were implemented in 1999 and has had a positive outcome in conjunction with the juvenile justice system. Judge Edward Brunner wanted to focus on three things in particular: accountability, skill achievement, and overall safety. In the 1990’s there was a spike in juvenile crimes and since the restorative programs have been implemented in the 2000’s a dramatic decrease has been seen. There have been numerous positive outcomes not only for the county but with recidivism itself. Individuals are taught multiple different skills by the community to override old skills deeming this to be a form of remediation.

When juveniles received early intervention using the Restorative Truancy Prevention Program it helped them by getting them connected with someone within their communities and remaining with their families. “Dignifying victims through a long, hard journey, building cultures of respect, raising trust levels between people who would otherwise stay apart, mobilizing volunteerism, helping offenders move beyond their own protectiveness—all of these and more represent benefits that create healthier communities” (“Gordon Lewis, Ted. Barron County Restorative Justice Programs: A Partnership Model for Balancing Community and Government Resources for Juvenile Justice Systems, Journal of Juvenile Justice, Vol. 1, 2011.)

These are all things that rehabilitate youth into better individuals that can create conscientious decisions based on life factors. They have now made proper encounters within the community by partaking in activities that they possibly would not had prior to the criminal activity or if in a prison facility. They now learn different cultures, how to respect properly, along with them being active life long members.

Since the 1990’s, incarceration has been progressively increasing, reaching 1,615,487 Americans. Alexandra Raphel, author of First-time juvenile offenders, probation and recidivism: Evidence from Los Angeles shows us that certain traits increased the chance of recidivism in juvenile delinquents, the data has been collected from Los Angeles County Department of Probation and Department of Children of Family from 2003-2009. The Obama administration used propensity score matching to gather similar demographic traits.

She discusses certain findings based on comparing African-American, White, and Hispanic juvenile delinquents that were being compare using specific criteria. This included the amount of youths assigned to in-home probation camps, and group homes. Ultimately, they found that African Americans have a higher chance of committing another crime and receiving a placement in probation camp or group homes which is astonishing being that compared to in home probation which most white youths received, the chance of committing another crime is 2.12 times more likely if you were in a probation camp.

‘Black juveniles who are transferred to adult court for trial and sentencing receive significantly more punitive sentences than White juveniles, and this practice is on the rise.” (Rattan A, Levine CS, Dweck CS, Eberhardt JL (2012) Race and the Fragility of the Legal Distinction between Juveniles and Adults) Therefore, the ‘strict” behavior rehabilitation somehow steers in reverse because in-home probation has half the chance of having another case compared to probation camps, showing relationships are essential to rehabilitate. Interpersonal relationships along with the intrapersonal relationship with oneself is an essential for those who are being assigned to either setting in order to help lower down the rates of recidivism.

Terrance Jamar Grahams was a part of a burglary in 2003 when he was 16 years old. He pleaded guilty to armed burglary and armed burglary of a restaurant. He had violated his probation by committing another crime later in the year. He was arrested for home invasion robbery. The audio that was spoken during the November 09, 2009 oral argument was about the unfair decision of life without parole for a 17-year-old offender with a case that did not consist of him partaking in a homicide.

The trial court reasoned that the sentence was justified because: “Defendant had thrown away a great opportunity to do The Opinion discusses other alleged crimes (primarily, the home invasion robbery), but these were crimes of which Defendant was found by the trial court to have violated his probation, not crimes of which he was convicted by a jury something with his life; (ii) nothing could be done to deter Defendant from future criminal activity; (iii) Defendant had decided to lead a criminal life; and (iv) the trial court needed to protect the community from the Defendant. (Op. 3-4.)” (Graham v. State, 982 So. 2d 43 (Fla. 1st DCA 2008) The opinion announcement on May 17th, 2010 concluded that the decision based was in violation of the 8th amendment. Stated in the opinion was, “The situation was a cruel and unusual punishment that was detrimental to a seventeen-year-old’s life aside from any mistakes he had made with bias opinions from law personnel.

Automatically insinuating that he could never turn his life around and taking away the right from him by taking away any privileges that one could have in a prison facility with vocational activities. With the proper rehabilitation and not solely just a crime and punishment outlook on Grahams situation and other juveniles that are incarcerated can reshape into adults that have learned from their consequences and have recovered from any traumas or hardships.

Baglivio and Jackowski conducted a study in 2015 using prison facilities. Here we learn that they will be implementing intervention techniques as “control agents” to produce results using juvenile delinquents under secured facilitated supervision to conclude if the interventions that were used produced a positive outcome in rehabilitation in juvenile delinquents. What I found astonishing were that the results did produce positive outcomes. However, they did not continue to follow-up on if the juveniles continued to reoffend which was the primary purpose of the study. “They examined whether random assignment to a victim impact curriculum improved change scores over comparison youth across five residential facilities.

For youth who completed the intervention, five criminogenic needs evidenced significantly more reduction than the control group that did not receive the intervention: peer relationships, antisocial attitudes, skills dealing with others, skills dealing with feelings, and impulse control skills (Baglivio & Jackowski, 2015) This shows that those who had already had behavioral modification skills and were competent in self-awareness were able to show significant reduction compared to those who didn’t receive any behavioral intervention.

This shows exactly how much of a priority behavioral modification should be made and why behavioral therapy and examination should be at the top of the list. The ability to recognize that those who can cope with certain factors easier along with cooperate with different people regarding different tasks. Many juveniles have specific adults that they feel comfortable being open with. However, when they have the basic essential to guard themselves in a safe manner but also communicate properly, they can become more efficient in the community.

Another problem of the system itself is that many of the juvenile delinquents have underlying psychiatric disorders that go undiagnosed; such as schizophrenia, PTSD, and separation disorder, that can cause them to act aggressively. Many times, this isn’t considered when juveniles have been punished instead of being treated and put on a treatment plan for their conditions. “Results from the California Youth Authority survey of 850 incarcerated delinquents who were examined by structured interviews showed prevalence rates in excess of 90% for externalizing disorders (such as disruptive behavior disorders and substance use disorders) in boys and girls.

In the same study, girls (64%) were found to be twice as likely to have internalizing disorders as boys (29%), with depression and anxiety as leading diagnoses. In addition to these findings, comorbidity was the norm, with more than 80% of both boys and girls having 3 or more mental health diagnoses”. (New Approaches to Juvenile Delinquency: Psychopathology, Development, and Neuroscience.Vol.23,’ by. Steiner, Hans MD., and Karnik MD PHD, Niranjan S.,)

How could it be that just depression and anxiety are targeted but other severe psychiatric issues are overlooked including bipolar disorder? Targeting an individual’s disorder and treating them rather than solely punishing them can further prevent any future episodes which is what we want as an outcome. Behavioral therapy along with medications can prevent many of the disorders from further escalation and causing a negative outcome.

Removing juveniles that are still developing their talents along with learning what their place is in society can be disruptive and can cause emotional outburst for someone with emotional difficulties and trauma when the main purpose is to rehabilitate their behaviors along with their conditions. This can cause reoccurring criminal acts when there is negligence on neurological conditions.

In conclusion rehabilitation should be the primary priority focus of the juvenile justice system. The juvenile justice systems are lacking in providing individual support to the youth that have made mistakes and need the care and attention from the community. The focus should be on the individual not the crime at this age. Starting with the implementation of programs in the school system to reduce the linking of entering to the judicial system due to minor occurrences at school.

Not providing these services will lead for the juvenile delinquent to not believe that they can change and will lead them on committing another offence. Rehabilitation programs can reduce the impact in other programs becoming the door to reduce the number of offenders in the juvenile justice system. Furthermore, that is why rehabilitation should be the primary focus in the juvenile justice system.

Work Cited

  1. Baglivio, Michael T., Wolff, Kevin T.,Jackowski, Katherine., and Greenwald, Mark A. Greenwald “A Multilevel Examination of Risk/Need Changes in the Community.”(2015)
  2. Gordon Lewis, Ted. “Barron County Restorative Justice Programs: A Partnership Model for Balancing Community and Government Resources for Juvenile Justice Systems.” Journal of Juvenile Justice (2011)
  3. Graham v. Florida.’ Oyez, 10 Feb. 2019, www.oyez.org/cases/2009/08-7412.
  4. Steiner, Hans MD., and Karnik MD PHD, Niranjan S.”New Approaches to Juvenile Delinquency: Psychopathology, Development, and Neuroscience.Vol.23′ Psychiatric Times (2006)
  5. Nelson, Libby., Lind, Dara., “The School-to-Prison Pipeline, explained.”Justice Policy Institute, Washington,(2015)
  6. Raphel, Alexandra. “First-time juvenile offenders, probation and recidivism: Evidence from Los Angeles.” Journalist Resource (2014)

Cite this paper

Understanding of Juvenile Justice System. (2021, Jun 26). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/understanding-of-juvenile-justice-system/

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