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Essay On Juvenile Delinquency

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Juvenile delinquency is major issue in the United States. Many studies have focused on trying to find ways to reduce juvenile delinquency. One strategy that has been studied in great depth is deterrence through harsh punishment accompanied by get-tough approaches. Those who support this strategy believe that the fear of punishment or the severity of the punishment will prevent juveniles from engaging in delinquency. Authorities fostered this fear through establishing mandatory minimum sentences, blended sentences and allowing waivers to adult court, to list a few. While these get-tough policies have a significant effect on how juvenile offenders are treated, these policies have little to no effect on future offending. The ineffectiveness of get-tough strategies stem from the fact that the juvenile justice system does not use effective forms of punishment, many juveniles do not respond to punishment in general, and the reasons or causes for delinquency are never addressed. In order to truly reduce juvenile delinquency, punishment must be combined with rehabilitation. Punishment in the form of restorative justice has the most potential for reducing juvenile delinquency. Restorative justice holds the juvenile accountable for their crimes and punishes them in meaningful ways. The punishment given in restorative justice is not focused on how long the sentence is or how severe the punishment is. Instead, restorative justice focuses on punishments that allow the juvenile to repair the harm that they caused, helps the juvenile to restore connections to others, and aims at addressing the cause of the juvenile’s delinquency. By making the offender admit their guilt and having them sit down for a conference with their family, friends, the vi... ... middle of paper ... ...or family experiences, then the treatment can offer them viable solutions to dealing with this stress. Delinquency is something that researchers and officials are always trying to prevent. Many strategies have been tested to see which approaches are the most effective. While some policies seemed to be good in theory, such as get-tough strategies, they are ineffective when put into practice. However, restorative justice strikes the perfect balance between punishment and treatment. Restorative justice holds the juvenile accountable for their actions but it allows the juvenile to make amends and learn from his or her delinquency as well. Restorative justice is the best approach to prevent juvenile delinquency because it deters first time offenders due to its consistent punishment, while also providing offenders with treatment, making them less likely to reoffend.
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