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Juvenile Delinquents

Satisfactory Essays
Given the numerous amounts of risk factors that many kids are exposed to, I understand why so many kids of low socioeconomic status get involved in delinquency. But once a kid enters the juvenile justice system, what do we do with them? There are two major options: punishment or rehabilitation. When a juvenile is brought in on a crime, they typically go to a juvenile court where their fate is determined. The judge attempts to determine based on the severity of the crime, and the prior offenses of the child, if they are a risk to society or if they have the potential to shape up and stay out of trouble. If the judge determines that the child has the chance to become a law-abiding citizen once again, they may be assigned to probation or some…show more content…
UNICEF conducted a study in Barbados, St. Lucia, and Domenica to asses peoples’ attitudes on what should be done with juvenile delinquents (UNICEF, 2010). Although, the study was conducted outside the United States, I believe that the results are still relevant. Many participants stated that they believed rehabilitation is the best option to help juvenile delinquents. However, many felt that the system must be revamped in order to actually help the kids. The general consensus was that “there were not many options or services available for rehabilitation and treatment in their country, but they believed that a combined approach where juveniles in need were targeted, amendments were made to existing legislation and current services were strengthened, could improve the process” (UNICEF, 2010). I would agree that this is exactly what we need here in the United States as well. Judge LaDoris Cordwell (2001) also agrees that rehabilitation is very important in changing the lives of troubled juveniles. She stated in an interview, “these kids ought to have an opportunity, if the law says they can, to be a part of that system so we save them, so they become productive. That's how society benefits” (Tobias, 2001). Cordwell explains that rehabilitation is a much cheaper and effective way to…show more content…
Our society has struggled with determining the most efficient way to deal with juvenile delinquency since the very beginning of civilization. Juveniles are influenced by many factors that lead them to delinquency. Poverty, community resources, and social influences can have a great impact on children and their tendencies to become delinquent. When a juvenile gets caught up in the juvenile justice system they may be sentenced to jail time or entered into rehabilitative programs. The easiest option is to punish them, throw them away, and forget about them. Although they may be out of the picture, taxpayers spend very large amounts of money to finance these ineffective facilities. However, some have seen the issues with juvenile detention facilities and have worked to create rehabilitation programs to improve the lives and outcomes of juvenile delinquents. Rehabilitation programs show positive results in reducing recidivism rates and helping juvenile offenders turn their life around. Creating more effective programs such as the ones in Missouri may cost more up front but, society will greatly benefit in the long run. Rehabilitation is the best option to help juvenile offenders while decreasing the number of kids in the juvenile justice
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