The Incarcerated Youth:
What to do with the sheep in wolf’s clothing, the role of Rhetoric and reality about Youth offenders in the constructive dismantling of the Juvenile Justice System. For many years now the juvenile justice system has been rotting from the inside out. The juvenile court system was established in the United States about two hundred years ago. With the first court appearing in Illinois in 1899. Originally, the court process was informal, often nothing more than a conversation between the youth and the judge, and the defendant lacked legal representation. Soon after to replace juvenile confinement with adults, a new system was created, It had similarities to probation. “During the early 1990s crime fell in a steady manner. However, unfortunately crime rose nationwide in the late 1980s and early 1990s. States then adopted “get tough” policies for crime. What this resulted in, was to deprive youth from any protections. That is until 1975, the correctional system got “reformed”. (Finklea, K. 2010, January 14)
. Some suggestions for reforming the juvenile justice system would be to have early interventions towards the youth. Early intervention is very much needed to help create a positive response in the youths behavior. For example; Schools, keeping kids in the school system, and getting rid of zero tolerance policies. These early interventions could help the youth feel like they are being wanted and not neglected by society. Evidence based practices could also be a useful tool to help the adolescent. (Greenwood, P. 2008). This would help address behavioral problems, reducing recidivism, and improving cost effectiveness. Example of smart cost effectiveness, “The Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) was directed to identify evidence based policies that were shown to improve particular outcomes. One of the areas they have studied is juvenile justice. Interesting enough, WSIPP has found community based programs to be more cost effective than the juvenile incarceration. They also showed programs that are ineffective and that the cost do not outweigh the benefits”. (Lockwood, B. 2010).
. Two examples of ineffective programs would be, “scared straight and the juvenile wilderness challenge programs. Unfortunately, the scared straight program was effective with those that didn’t really need it, but remained ineffective for kids that had already been in juvenile correctional facilities”. Feinstein, S. (2005). Community based programs are more effective for the youth especially when it is their own community looking out for them. Unlike other programs that require traveling some distance from home, it is imperative that the potential effects of distance to treatment for offenders attending community-based programs be identified and understood in order to reduce negative outcomes such as treatment non-completion and recidivism”. Last but not least diverting youth who commit status offenses. “Those who are charged with status offenses refer to actions such as running away from home and being “truant” or in other words, a student who stays away from school without leave or explanation. Among the categories of the youth will most likely be harmed by incarceration”.
(Shubik, C.2001, January 1). By locking these youth up in juvenile correctional facilities will only jeopardize their safety, and without ever identifying the root of their problems. It not only hurts there likely hood to continue on the right path, it can also deteriorate their behavior rather than improve it. For one, it isolates the individual from their families and friends. Community based responses have been shown to be more effective and cost efficient. If the juvenile system wants to get rid of the rotting roots that have been corroding the system, they must understand the facts, to look at the research and data that have been provided for many years now showing how community based programs are more efficient and effective than other programs that are not cost effective nor effective in reaching the youth without some major backlash. The system needs to realize rehabilitation is key to the juvenile justice problems.