The problem of how to deal with juvenile offenders constitutes one of our countries biggest challenges. There were 13.9 million reported offenses in 1995 according to the FBI’s uniform crime report. That same year over three million juveniles were arrested, 800,000 of those arrests were index crimes, which are crimes of a serious nature. In 1995 there were 69million juveniles. It is predicted that by the year 2010 the juvenile population will reach 74 million (Bureau of the Census 1995). The increase in the juvenile arrest rate during the last ten years is expected to continue at a steady increase until something can be done to reduce the offending rates.
The statistics are staggering. The rate for juvenile homicide more than doubled from 1985-1992 (Blumstein, 1995). In this paper I will discuss the juvenile justice system from the first establishment of juvenile court in 1899, to the current responses of the juvenile justice system in reducing the amount of offenders. Finally I will address some alternative methods to the current policies regarding the juvenile justice system beginning with arrest through rehabilitation.
The first juvenile court in the United States was established in Cook County, Illinois in 1899. Delinquent juveniles were dealt harsh punishments from the adult courts before that development. Every state was with a separate juvenile court by 1945. The original intent was to focus on offenders and not offenses, rehabilitating and protecting the youth was the courts philosophy. Placing juvenile offenders in reformatories , training schools, and institutions was thought to support the theory of rehabilitation, contrary to the nice thought, these places were dangerous and unhealthy and believed to have done more harm than good. During the 1940’s and 1950’s reformers worked hard to improve the conditions found in most juvenile institutions. Probation camps emerged providing a structured setting for juveniles as an alternative to incarceration. Extensive use of probation was also another alternative to incarceration. The vast majority were coming to question the ability of the juvenile courts system in succeeding, or even making visible or tangible progress in the rehabilitation process. In 1967, the recommendation that alternatives to the incarceration of juveniles be developed. The...
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...equired of any parent(s) that wish to claim the EIC (earned income tax credit) on their taxes. A three hour class on how divorce effects children is required when a couple divorcing have children together, in order to be granted the divorce. It has been done, the parents of juvenile offenders doing the time for their child’s crime, but wait… what if the parents were mandated to attend a series of classes or seminars that could help teach them to more effectively handle the situation, preventing future offenses. If the treatment and prevention come from the parents, that treatment could be considered “custom treatment” if you will, the causes believed to lead to juvenile delinquency are in abundance, how can we address each child’s individual needs better than to encourage their own parents involvement. The parents live with them, are overall responsible for them, and may think twice about having any more if they are held accountable for the actions of their children. Values and integrity are learned at an early age and in the home. This has to be our foundation to building a system that can effectively prevent and treat our youth, one day they will be running the show around here.
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