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Juvenile delinquency is one of the public safety concerns that involves individuals commonly referred to as juvenile delinquents. Juvenile delinquency entails the involvement of such individuals in illegal conducts and activities considered criminal and warrants an arrest. The issue of juvenile delinquency has posed a threat to the safety of the public, especially about the measures and programs that have been put in place in a bid to reform and rehabilitate these individuals. The effectiveness of the juvenile correctional facility depends on several factors. The increased concern on the effectiveness of the juvenile correctional facility is attributable to the seriousness of the crimes that these juvenile delinquents commit. Thus, this analytical treatise attempts to review an effective juvenile correctional facility explicitly.
Juvenile correctional facility
In the United States, “a juvenile delinquent is an individual yet to attain the age of the majority and whose acts have been determined by a court of law as constituting juvenile delinquency. The determination process of the individual as a juvenile delinquent differs from state to state. The government has to put in place measures to ensure that minor offenders are not confined in the same facilities as adult offenders” (Inciardi, 2009, p. 79). Thus, the facility for juvenile delinquents should have incarceration and a rehabilitation unit. Formalization of juvenile offenders in the United States should not blur the line between incarceration and rehabilitation. This is because most of the arrested and prosecuted young offenders are treated as young criminals deserving to serve time in correctional facilities. As such, lesser rehabilitative measures are taken while the individual is under detention, after which they are released back into the society (Inciardi, 2009).
This increases the possibilities that the individual will re-offend as they are not accorded proper guidance to avert their criminal tendencies. Thus, a properly created and operational rehabilitation center within the facility will be instrumental towards reducing incidences of re-offense. Juvenile correctional facilities may also be effective through increased involvement of the youths in community programs. This would serve to reduce their alienation from society by making them feel useful as part of the community (Mears and Travis, 2004).
Convicted juveniles should be put on rehabilitation programs rather than punishing them by locking them up in correctional facilities, that do not have functioning rehabilitation centers. These programs should be aligned with the individual needs of each juvenile, usually based on factors that contributed to their involvement in delinquent conduct. As such, those involved in drug abuse should be engaged in programs that will help mitigate addiction. Similarly, juveniles involved in theft and robbery, due to economic hardships, should be empowered by offering them professional or vocational training to enhance their self-reliance. To ensure effectiveness, rehabilitation programs should incorporate reintegration of the juvenile into the community to prevent stigmatization (Inciardi, 2009).
The weakening of essential social institutions such as schools and family have also contributed to the increase of delinquent behavior in society. Traditionally, these institutions acted as platforms on which behavior was shaped and streamlined. However, in the modern world, the effectiveness of school and family institutions to shape the conduct of pupils has increasingly diminished, leading to increased delinquency in society. Therefore, the proposed juvenile correctional facility should have a center for teaching juvenile delinquents on the essential societal norms (Mears and Travis, 2004).
Cultural factors, such as a breakdown of the norms, that acceptable guide behavior in the society, have contributed to the increase in juvenile delinquency. With the norms that offer direction in society becoming dysfunctional, rules lose their effectiveness in the ability to deter young people from involving themselves in socially unacceptable tendencies. As these norms lose relevance in society, it becomes difficult to control the behavior of young persons with peer groups becoming the main source of influence on their behavior. Thus, the proposed center for societal norms within the facility will not only impart knowledge to the offenders but also reduce cases of re-offense (Inciardi, 2009).
There is a need to put in place programs that will facilitate rehabilitation of the identified juvenile offenders. This may involve setting up of rehabilitation facilities that are manned by highly qualified professional counselors who would guide the juveniles towards becoming morally upright and responsible citizens. This would eliminate the need for the juvenile justice system in the country to take offenders through impersonal legal procedures which lead to labeling of minor offenders as delinquents resulting in their adoption of the identity. This would help in the evaluation of the ability of the programs to reform juveniles by preventing them from offending. This would also evaluate the effectiveness of the programs in reintegrating the individuals back into society by the elimination of stigmatization of the young offender (Josi and Sechrest, 2009).
The measures should be transformed into an act that compels law enforcement officers to release arrested minor offenders rather than following up the issue with the parents of the offender. It prohibits apprehension of minors who are found smoking or consuming alcohols, besides demanding for holding of arrested minor offenders in special facilities and away from adult offenders. Though these stipulations may be noble, the inadequacy of juvenile facilities forces the police to release minor offenders without preferring charges against them (Josi and Sechrest, 2009). Thus, in spite of the efforts by the government to address delinquency through its various mechanisms, juvenile delinquency incidences in the society continue to escalate. This trend has been blamed on the inadequacies of the Juvenile correction facilities that hamper their ability to address the issue of delinquency in society.
From the analysis of various aspects and elements associated with juvenile delinquency, the correctional facility should be modified. Likewise, due to the diversity and extensiveness of the issue, further analysis is desirable to facilitate the establishment of courses of action that can be used as remedies in a bid to achieve improved public safety. Juvenile delinquency is a serious public safety concern in the United States. In the past decades, this phenomenon has been on the rise, leading to increased fear among the general public. The increased concern is attributable to the heightening of delinquent acts involving excessive violence and aggravated physical assault in society. Therefore, the effectiveness of juvenile correctional facilities needs to be adequately addressed to enhance the security of society. This should entail the elimination of conditions that contribute to the development of delinquent tendencies among children in the community. Further, there is a need for collaboration between the government and the community in establishing measures that will effectively remedy delinquency in society.
Inciardi, J. (2009). Criminal justice (9th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.
Josi, D. A., & Sechrest, D. K. (2009). A pragmatic approach to parole aftercare: Evaluation of a community reintegration program for high-risk youthful offenders. Justice Quarterly, 16, 51–80.
Mears, D P. & Travis, J. (2004). Youth development and reentry. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 2 (1), 3–20.