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Challenges for the Juvenile Justice System

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    Challenges for the Juvenile Justice System

    It has been one hundred years since the creation of the juvenile court in the United States. The court and the juvenile justice system has made some positive changes in the lives of millions of young people lives over the course or those years, within the last thirteen years there has been some daunting challenges in the system. According to Bartollas & Miller (2008) the challenges and unique issues the juvenile justice system face in the 21st century includes improving condition of confinement, fair treatment for children of color, health care, security, children with mental health issues, reducing overcrowding, securing resources for programs that work. Funding is a big challenge in the juvenile justice system, with limited funding the juvenile justice system face many challenges that handicap social policy advances. The juvenile justice system mission is to correct youthful offenders so they will not return to juvenile justice system or continue on into the life of an adult criminal many intervention methods has been tried in order to achieve the mission of rehabilitation. Some of the unique issues is failed intervention like diversion, community-base corrections, radical nonintervention, the closing of training schools, mandatory sentencing, punishment, transactional analysis, guided groups interaction, positive peer culture, behavior therapy, work release, home furloughs, and coeducational institutionalization.

    However, with different situations some things work for some offenders and some things don’t, the overall results of these strategies fell short of achieving the goal of preventing juveniles from returning to the system. Child abuse is the illegal physical, emotional, or sexual mistreatment of a child by his or her parents or guardian, most states also consider a child who is forced into delinquent activity by a parent or guardian to be abuse. The juvenile justice system is constantly increasing in numbers because children who are abuse usually end up in the juvenile justice system because of behavior such as truancy, vagrancy, running away from home and corrigibility. According to Schmalleger (2009) Status offenses were a natural outgrowth of juvenile court philosophy. As a consequence, however, juveniles in need of help often face procedural dispositions that treated them as though they were delinquent. Rather than lowering the rate of juvenile incarceration, the juvenile court movement led to its increase, this has an impact in the increasing number of child abuse and neglect cases on the juvenile justice system. The American Humane Association states that the number of children who are abused and neglected has fluctuated over time. There has been a general increase in the number of abuse and neglect substantiations. Below is the data on the increase of child abuse and neglect case : 1999829,000


    The American Humane Association also states that it is difficult to determine if the shifts in the numbers of children being reported is due to the actual change in abuse and neglect each year or if the fluctuations are a result of improved data collecting in these areas. NCANDS reports that the increase in 2005’s data could be a result of the additional reporting of both Puerto Rico and Alaska, which were not included in Child Maltreatment in previous years. Maltreatment can take many forms, and some children can suffer from more than one type. Since 1999, the majority of children confirmed to be victims of child maltreatment experienced neglect. The following are the percentages of children who experienced maltreatment in 2005 (USDHHS, 2007): Neglect 2.8%, Physical abuse 6.6%, Sexual abuse 9.3%, Emotional/ psychological abuse 7.1%, Medical neglect .0%, Other 4.3%. The ‘other’ category listed above includes abandonment, threats to harm the child, congenital drug addiction and other situations that are not counted as specific categories in NCANDS. The percentages here add up to more than 100 percent because some children were victims of more than one type of maltreatment. Bartollas & Miller (2008) states that the future of the juvenile justice system faces a variety of challenges, the population of juveniles under the age of eighteen will increase between 2000 and 2025, about one half of the 1% per year. By 2050, it is estimated that the juvenile population will be 36% larger that it was in 2000. Given this
    population growth of juveniles in the years to come, it looks like the juvenile justice system will have greater demands placed on it. The widespread feeling today is that there are more troubled teenagers than it was in the past, the increase of gangs, drugs, and guns will continue to be a social problem. Youth gangs are increasingly becoming a minority problem, and this trend is likely to increase in years to come, the drugs choices of juvenile may change in the future but that don’t mean it will be less of a problem than it is now, their choice of drugs today is cocaine and methamphetamine. Juveniles will continue to drink alcohol, and there is no reason to believe that the use of alcohol will be less of a problem than at present. The issue of gun control will remain a serious problem facing juvenile justice. The current tendency to create uniformity and reduce discretion in juvenile sentence procedures is likely to continue. The deinstitutionalization on movement is likely to continue and even expand, given the high cost if institutionalization. The use of restorative justice will continue to spread throughout the United States. The use of private programs will continue to be an important part of the landscape of juvenile corrections. State legislatures will become increasingly involved in passing laws related to the social control of juveniles. A structural change that will likely be implemented in those states that do not have it is the removal of serious crimes from the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. The list goes on and on with the future challenges the juvenile justice face. The dissatisfaction with the juvenile justice system will probably continue to increase. Those who want to eliminate the juvenile justice system and the juvenile justice court will be more vocal and will receive much greater support, although it remains to be seen that this nation will give up on the century long experiment with the juvenile justice system for juveniles.

    Bartollas, C., & Miller, S. J. (2008). Juvenile justice in America. (5 ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall. (n.d.). Retrieved from Retrieved from Schmalleger, F. (2009). Criminal justice today. (10 ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice

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