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Juvenile Offenders Essay

The future of society depends on not only adults, but also mainly the youth and their outcomes. As human beings, making mistakes becomes a regular routine especially to youth. Not all the mistakes made by youth have serious consequences such as incarceration due to crimes, but the ones that do tend to never help reduce the amount of offenders in the U. S. The juvenile justice system’s main goal is rehabilitation for all youth, but research and many studies have been carried out in order to describe what the system is doing wrong and what problems need to be resolved.

Juvenile offenders should be placed in rehabilitative programs because punitive programs are counterproductive and therefore juvenile procedures need to be revised. Juveniles are often detained in facilities that group at-risk youth, which enable them to act violently towards each other. The majority of offenders that are detained in correctional and detention facilities have a higher rate of offending than those placed into alternative programs. For example, according to a report by the Justice Policy Institute, “70 percent of youth held in secure detention were arrested or returned to secure detention within one year of release” (Holman 4).

Incarceration does not reduce the rate of recidivism of youth. The Juvenile Justice System needs to eye alternatives that help rehabilitate the offenders. Furthermore, a recent report in Walworth County carried out by the Division of Juvenile Corrections states that, “Of the 617 juveniles across the state placed in corrections, 366 committed new crimes within three years of their release” (Anderson). In other words the rate of offending is increased and less than half of the offenders are able to rehabilitate.

In order for juveniles to receive better services needed for rehabilitation, they must be processed into small group settings rather than the traditional setting of correction and detention facilities. Not only do the recidivism rates increase, but the amount of youth crime committed around the U. S. as well. Generally, youth crime is a big issue for society because it endangers public safety. For example, a study taken by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, otherwise known as OJJDP, declared that in 2012, about 3,941 arrests were held in the U. S. between youth ages 10 through 17. The results portray a rather large number of youth crime committed.

Due to the increased number of youth crime, the juvenile court system also carries out an immense number of cases. According to the Campaign for Youth Justice, “Every year, juvenile courts in the U. S. handle an estimated 1. 7 million cases in which the youth was charged with a delinquency offense, approximately 4,600 delinquency cases per day” (Key Facts 1). The amount of youth crime has an effect on not only society, but the justice system as well.

If youth crime rises, the juvenile justice system is doing a poor job of fulfilling their one goal for troubled youth. Regularly juveniles are detained in facilities, but there are also a slight handful of alternatives programs, which have a greater impact on each individual. Some alternatives include centers youth attend in the community every day, house arrest, short-term shelter care, and small community homes. Research shows that these alternative programs have a higher rate of juveniles achieving better outcomes once being released.

Placing juveniles into community-based programs is highly effective in achieving better outcomes for the offenders rather than detention or correctional facilities. For instance, research provided by the National Center for Children in Poverty states, “Communitybased programs and services can produce positive social outcomes, such as a decreased dependence on alcohol and illegal substances” (Gottesman). These programs tend to have a beneficial payoff for each individual, which leaves the option of incarcerating youth counterproductive.

By assigning alternative programs the process of rehabilitation will become faster due to necessary developmentally services provided to all offenders. Placing juveniles in detention and correctional facilities has many consequences because of the lack of attention towards each individual. Grouping juveniles in an environment that does not suit them increases the chance of offending and committing crimes.

For example, researchers at the Oregon Social Learning Center discovered, “Significant higher levels of substance abuse, school difficulties, delinquency. iolence, and adiustment difficulties in adulthood for those youth treated in a peer group setting” (Holman 5). Detaining youth has a negative impact on the outcome of most offenders; therefore the option of incarcerating youth seems counterproductive due to the negative change of behavior and attitude once being released. Detention and correction facilities tend to drag offenders deeper into the juvenile justice system rather than taking them out.

For instance, studies show,”Detained youth are more likely to be referred to court, see their case progress through the system to adjudication and disposition, have a formal disposition filed against them, and receive a more serious disposition” (Holman 5). Juveniles are likely to reoffend after being released from facilities rather than improving their decision-making. There are many flaws with the facilities that juveniles are settled into such as lack of drug abuse screenings and limited resources towards the conditions of certain offenders.

The absence of screenings affects the offender’s state of mind when released which will most likely cause them to offend. In addition, research provided by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention or OJJDP declared, “Half of the youth surveyed are in facilities that do not use standardized assessment tools to identify substance abuse issues, and 19 percent are in facilities that do not screen any youth for substance abuse” (Gottesman). Due to an inadequate screening system, the recidivism rates of drug abuse continue to rise.

Little or no screenings of most facilities are skipping important procedures necessary for rehabilitation. Furthermore, facilities also lack screenings to identify certain illnesses of the juveniles. Not only do the facilities fall short of many screenings, the offenders are limited to the resources necessary in order to fulfill their needs. According to the OJJDP, “Youth with a documented mental health issue that are incarcerated in residential placement facilities, 47 percent have not met with a counselor” (Gottesman).

Half of the juveniles with a noted illness still lack evaluations and services that should be provided immediately to them. With no screenings taking place, the facility becomes disorganized and falls far behind from achieving the juvenile justice system’s goal of rehabilitating the youth. The effect of detention and correction facilities does not only take place while the offender is being detained, but when they are released as well. Detaining youth has a long-term negative effect on most offenders based on their decisions after being released.

For example, the facilities affect the youth’s ability to re-enroll in school. According to a study conducted by the U. S. Department of Education, “43 percent of incarcerated youth receiving remedial education services in detention did not return to school after release, and another 16 percent enrolled in school but dropped out after only five months” (Holman 9 More than half of youth held in facilities struggled to enroll and settle in school after being released. The chance of enrolling into school becomes very difficult for newly released offenders.

The result of recent offenders being held out of school enables them to offend. According to a study carried out by the U. S. Department of Education, youth that have dropped out of school have a 3. 5 higher rate of being detained than students who graduate high school (Holman 9). The fact of having recent offenders out of school also endangers society and increases the rate of youth committed crimes. Lastly, detaining youth affects the employment opportunities of recent offenders.

The success of an individual depends on whether they have an excellent education and or a steady job. As a juvenile, resources re limited such as jobs, which enable youth to turn to what they do best, which is to commit crimes. For instance, studies carried out by the National Bureau of Social Research have declared that, “Due to the disruptions in their education… the process of incarceration could actually change an individual into a less stable employee” (Holman 10). Detaining youth does not mentally and physically stabilize offenders, but does the complete opposite.

Compared to peers with no history of incarceration, juveniles tend to fall way behind getting into school and work. Furthermore, certain states around the U. S. that have a high rate of detaining youth tend to lack stable employees in many jobs. Due to the amount of unstable jobs and employees, offenders tend to give up and face high risks of complete unemployment. In addition, the National Bureau of Social Research discovered, “The loss of potentially stable employees and workers… is one of numerous invisible costs that the overuse of detention imposes on the country and on individual communities” (Holman 10). The result of unemployment within offenders creates a long-term negative effect on the offender and on society as well.

The outcome of juvenile offenders begins to deteriorate once being incarcerated because all services and necessities become scarce. In order to sustain a society in which youth are guaranteed successful outcomes after being detained, the juvenile justice system must provide beneficial services for the offenders, improve services of both correction and detention facilities, and include more community-based programs as alternatives. To provide beneficial services, the juvenile justice system needs to create openings at schools for released offenders.

Once released, they should be able to enroll in school with ease and as fast as possible to keep them off the streets. By improving the screenings of drug abuse and mental illnesses, it ensures the safety of each individual in detention and correction facilities. Being aware of the necessities of the offenders will allow them to rehabilitate in order to move on from being detained. Assigning offenders to more community-based programs will increase the rate of successful outcomes of juveniles once being released.

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