Junenile Justice System Should Focus on Rehabilitation
Rehabilitation over Punishment, why one is better or more effective than the other, in order to answer this questions one must understand what each means. Punishment is a consequence of doing something that is unacceptable, it is meant to be unpleasant, the problem with punishment is it does nothing to address the social or mental processes that maybe contributing to delinquency, nor does it address why an individual commits the unacceptable act(assosiated content, n. d. ).
The juvenile justice system should focus on rehabilitation because while punishment may be unpleasant we need to focus on mental health assessment and services for youth (modelsforchange, n. d. ). Most youth who are only punished reoffend because the reason for the initial offence was never addressed. Youth Outreach Services (YOS) focuses on mental health assessment and services for youths because upon identifying mental, emotional or ongoing problems caused by trauma the youth can receive follow-up testing or immediate assistance. The identifying of these problems can help family members understand and also better help the juvenile.
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In the last two years 95% of the juveniles that went to the rehabilitation program and screening of YOS avoided re-arrest (modelsforchange, n. d. ). If we do not focus on rehabilitation we are depriving both society and the offenders of their full potential (the league of young voters, n. d. ). Law enforcement and rehabilitation meet in programs such as DARE where police officers go to schools and help educate the youth on the dangers of drug use and gang involvement. While police officers are there to protect and keep the peace they are not always trained to be able to communicate with the youth on a level that the youth can respond too.
Sometimes the police and used to scare teens straight and let them know that if the follow the path of drugs, gangs and violence they will be taken to prison. Juvenile rehabilitation and the court process, the independent juvenile court is a specialized court for children, designed to promote rehabilitation of youth. Many serious decisions are made before the juvenile trial begins, such as whether to detain youths or release them to the community, whether to waive them to the adult court or keep them in the juvenile justice system, as well as the decision to treat them in the community or send them to a secure treatment center.
When making disposition decisions, juvenile court judges can select programs that will improve life skills and help youths form an affirmative bond with society (, 2005). The Juvenile Justice System also uses deferent terms than the Adult Criminal Justice System, some of the differences are respondent for juveniles versus defendant for adults, Delinquent Act/Offense for juveniles versus crime for adults, adjudication hearing versus trial, found delinquent versus convicted/found guilty, disposition versus sentencing, detention versus jail, and juvenile rehabilitation authority versus prison (Clallam County Courts-Juvenile Court, n. . ). Probation and Juvenile Rehabilitation, probation is a direct court order where the offender is ordered to remain under community supervision, emphasizing treatment without the need incarceration. Probation is the principal form of community treatment used by the juvenile justice system, the juvenile who is on probation is retained in the community under the supervision of an officer of the court. While on probation a set of rules and conditions must be met for the offender to remain in the community.
Juveniles on probation can be placed in a wide variety of community-based treatment programs providing services that ranging from group counseling to drug treatment. Community treatment is based on the principal idea that the juvenile offender is not a danger to the community and will have a better chance of being rehabilitated while in the community. It also provides offenders with the chance to be supervised by trained personnel who can help them rebuild forms of suitable behavior in a community setting.
There are several types of facilities in juvenile corrections, such as reception centers that screen juveniles in order to assign them to an appropriate facility, there are also specialized facilities that can provided specific types of care, such as drug treatment, training schools or reformatories for youths that are in need of a long-term secure setting, ranch or forestry camps also provide long-term residential care, as does boot camps, which seek to rehabilitate youth through the use of rough physical training.
Choosing the proper facility can be a very difficult decision. Many believe that the most effective secure-corrections programs provided individualized services for a small number of partakers and offer creative approaches to treating the offender. Institutionalizing young offenders can do more harm than good because it exposes the juveniles to prisonlike conditions and to more experienced delinquents without the assistance of constructive treatment programs.
Community treatment refers to efforts to provide care, protection, and treatment for juveniles in need. Community treatment covers efforts to keep offenders in the community and spare them the disgrace of incarceration. The main purpose is to provide a nonrestrictive or home setting, employing educational, vocational, counseling, and employment services. The most widely used community treatment method is probation while on probation behavior is monitored by probation officers. When rules are broken, youths can have their probation revoked.
Effective intervention plays a vital role in any plan intended to reduce the rates of juvenile delinquency. Those employed in the juvenile justice system use intervention as a key module of dispositional sanctions imposed in juvenile cases. This is mainly true for the treatment of serious, violent, and chronic juvenile offenders/serious offenders who have the probability for long and destructive criminal careers and who without effective interventions, are more likely to recidivate while at the age for peak offending.
The most effective intervention programs for noninstitutionalized offenders concentrated on, individual counseling, reality therapy counseling, and juvenile sexual offenders were treated with multisystemic therapy. Interpersonal skills that use drama and the production of videos, a ten day course focusing on a personal or community commitment and behavior programs focusing on behavior therapy, are the most successful.
Reoffending effect sizes for the various treatment types were most reliably positive for interpersonal skills interventions and teaching family homes (Office of Justice Programs, 2000). The opposition to rehabilitation is that we must advocate justice and equality under the law regardless of age. Deterrence is believed to be the best approach to punishment, because the belief is that if the offender is incarcerated the ability to commit more crimes is erased.
Crimes such as rape of other juveniles, aggravated assault on elderly and helpless victims, and murders are being committed by perpetrators as young as 13. Juvenile offender under with long criminal records which result in small if any punishments can develop a false sense of operating above the law, with the defiant attitude that the law and its representatives couldn’t touch them. Methvin (1997) confirms that failure to punish juvenile offenders’ severely upon the act of their first is a primary factor in determining whether a youth would become a habitual offender.
Those who are in favor of punishment versus rehabilitation believe it is the failure of the system by not adequately and consistently punishing offenders which lies at the heart of the constant rise in juvenile crime, the inclination to re-offend, with offenders progressing from non-violent crimes to violent ones. These views are not as valid as rehabilitation because crime prevention programs work and are more cost effective. Crime prevention programs can prevent approximately 250 crimes per $1 million versus investing the same amount in prisons only preventing 60 crimes.
Both California and Florida spend more on corrections then on higher education, incarceration of a juvenile for one year is cost $35,000 – $64,000, per year while the annual tuition of attending Harvard is under $30,000 per student. Local, state and federal budget to maintain the prison population in 1990 was $24. 9 billion this has grown to $144 (American Civil Liberties Union, 1996). The advantages to rehabilitation is that better rehabilitation and re-entry care can reduce time spent incarcerated and allows for better adjustment to the outside world and reduce cost.
Without rehabilitation we are producing more and repeat offenders while depriving society and offenders of their full potential. With proper rehabilitation former offenders and the community benefit. We need to encourage rehabilitation rather than continue to put more money into a broken and failed prison system (the league of young voters, n. d. ). Juvenile courts were designed to be flexible, informal and to rehabilitate, with the surge in crimes of the 1990’s and the need for a quick fix to the problem incarceration became the solution.
Incarceration brings the non-violent offender in contact with violent and adult criminals at a influential time in their life, providing them with training to becoming a more dangerous criminal. This solution did not stop the crime wave but made more troubled juveniles and career criminals. The public now also feel that incarcerating youths without rehabilitation is the same as giving up on our children and when given the choice the public would rather put the money into rehabilitation rather than ncarceration. The current juvenile justice system is failing. Rapists and murderers are hardly punished and allowed back into the community to repeat their crimes on the unsuspecting. This creates an atmosphere of violence and leads to loss of hope in children. Life needs to seen as holding promise and that the ability for success is attainable in order to give juveniles a goal that can be achieved. The law alone cannot deter, nor rehabilitation successfully.