Juveniles could be defined as young children and youth offenders who have not yet attained the age of adulthood, in most cases 18 years. Juvenile delinquency on the other hand is the engagement of children and youthful offenders in criminal activities. Crime is an aspect that has raised concern among individuals, groups, and organizations especially due to its increased rate among both the juveniles and the adults.
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There are various reasons that facilitate the indulgence of individuals into criminal activities especially the juveniles for instance peer pressure, emulation of people and the desire to copy and be like them, poor upbringing for example where the parents or caregivers do not offer guidance towards good behavior, poverty due to unemployment and lack of education among others.
There are various strategies that could be applied in the correction of the juvenile delinquents, all with their positive and negative impacts on the offenders depending on their effectiveness. One way is through rehabilitation in the boot camps and this paper looks into the issue of juvenile rehabilitation in boot camps with much emphasis being given to its importance versus the cost incurred.
Despite the high cost of maintaining the facilities and the high number of repeat offenders, I strongly believe that juvenile boot camps are crucial in the rehabilitation process, as it helps the youths rebuild their self-esteem, learn team work, and continue their education.
High Rates of Juvenile Delinquency
The issue of juvenile delinquency is very critical and calls for action to be taken by all responsible bodies to save our children and youths from being too much into criminal activities, an issue that is likely to render them useless rather than being responsible citizens.
According to Ramchand, Morral and Becker, (2009), there has been an increase in the rates of negative life outcomes that are brought about by indulgence of children and youths into criminal activities and thus necessitating a need for more effective rehabilitation strategies and programs aimed at not only correcting the juvenile offenders but also helping them to integrate effectively into the society.
In the past years, children and youths were not involved much in criminal activities but the rate seems to increase day by day. This has been attributed to various factors for instance poor upbringing and bad peer pressure. In the United States, for instance, about two million arrests involving children and youths are made every year.
This is an alarming rate that calls for action to save the future generation from diminishing in delinquency. The offenders are usually referred to different justice enforcement bodies depending on the offences committed. These include detention centers, group homes, diagnostic centers, long-term secure facilities as well as wilderness camps. The boot camps are however facilities that have gained a lot of emphasis in handling the juvenile delinquents.
This is more so because of the activities that are carried out in this institutions and their effectiveness in correcting delinquency. Rehabilitation through juvenile boot camps has been deemed crucial. This therefore reinforces the thesis statement and shows how crucial juvenile boot camps are. They should therefore be promoted since the benefits accrued to them surpass the cost incurred.
An Evaluation of Juvenile Boot Camps to That of Traditional Juvenile Offender Facilities
A juvenile boot camp can be defined as a correctional facility that makes use of training techniques that are applied in the military while doing recruitments. This is usually in an effort to teach the juvenile delinquents of the socially acceptable patterns of behavior. This is an incredibly crucial aspect since it helps the juvenile offenders to be accepted back to the society as they now conform to the stipulated norms. Juvenile boot camps can be seen as an improvement of the traditional juvenile offender facilities.
Research shows that there is a considerable difference between juvenile boot camps and traditional juvenile offender facilities. The differences could be drawn from different perspectives for instance looking at different characteristics such as the risk factors involved, the demographics as well as how the two facilities’ environment are perceived by various observers including the juvenile offenders and boot camp residents.
When asked about the environment, the boot camp residents considered the environment to be much better as compared to the juveniles’ traditional correctional facilities. This is with respect to how operations are carried out for instance the environment is usually secure facing relatively less danger from the outside. The activities and processes involved are also carried out in a more systematic manner with the environment being more active, structured, and controlled.
The boot camp juveniles also had a positive perception in regard to the boot camps as opposed to the traditional juvenile offender facilities. The juvenile boot camps are also deemed to offer better transitional programs, which allow the juvenile delinquents to mingle well back into the society (Styve, Gover and Mitchell, 2000).
From the above discussion it is clear that taking an overall perspective the juvenile boot camps are far better than the traditional juvenile offender facilities and thus they are conducive in promoting an effective rehabilitation process among the juveniles.
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The Effectiveness of the Scale at Which We Use To Measure Effective Rehabilitation
Just like any other aspect, rehabilitation effectiveness could be measured. This is through a scale, the Child and Adolescent Functional Assessment Scale (CAFAS). This is a tool that is used in the assessment of mental health and can thus be used to monitor the juvenile delinquents. The Child and Adolescent Functional Assessment Scale are usually known for its characteristic of being sensitive to rehabilitation monitoring effects. The scale is closely related to recidivism.
The Child and Adolescent Functional Assessment Scale (CAFAS) have proved to be extremely useful in the process of juvenile rehabilitation. According to Quist and Matshazi (2000), CAFAS is useful in the process of determining the juvenile delinquents who are at risk of being involved in criminal activities in future. It also assists in appropriate allocation of resources. This is made possible through recidivism research.
CAFAS is a tool that is deemed essential in predicting recidivism particularly where dynamic factors are represented. The Child and Adolescent Functional Assessment Scale (CAFAS) are deemed to be relatively effective when used to measure the progress of rehabilitation of both juvenile delinquents as well as adult offenders. This is because it is able to give appropriate results in regard to various rehabilitation attributes more especially recidivism (Quist and Matshazi, 2000).
A Comparison Of The Experiences Between Juvenile Offenders Sentenced In Adult Courts And Incarcerated In Adult Facilities To That Of Juvenile Offenders Incarcerated In Youth Facilities.
It is clear that there exist a distinct difference between juvenile offenders and adult offenders. This therefore dictates that there should be a difference in the manner in which the two are handled in order to achieve better results. The difference between the juveniles and the adults has led to different treatment especially when it comes to different levels or nature of criminal activities committed by them. A good example is the existence of both the juvenile and adults courts
Juvenile correction system is under the juvenile justice system, which is a network of organizations that handle young people whose behavior violates the law. The initial intent of the juvenile correction system was to correct a bad condition among young offenders and in so doing meet the community obligations towards the young people.
The system dictates that youths have a right to be treated fairly under the law, for instance they should have the right to be notified of charges concerning them, the right to acquire legal guidance, and the right to get a record of the proceedings.
It was not until the 1880s that the juvenile corrections system came into existence. Juvenile offenders were earlier confined in adult prisons since there were no juvenile institutions or facilities. The cruel and harsh conditions in the adults’ prisons led to the idea of establishment of institutions and courts that would deal with young offenders.
The early institutions were industrial schools that aimed at protecting the young offenders from getting negative influences in the adult facilities that would worsen their conditions rather than rectifying them. The schools worked on the basis of rehabilitating the offenders through hard work and instilling discipline. Today, most juveniles are housed in public institutions governed by state agencies.
There are different correctional measures provided to the juvenile offenders in the youth facilities which are usually absent in the adult facilities. They include; general counseling, religious counseling, educational and vocational training, medical and recreational programs. All these are aimed at rehabilitating the offenders. The measures vary from one institution to another due to the availability of facilities and qualified personnel to carry out the rehabilitation processes.
All in all, these measures assist in changing the lives of the juveniles as opposed to when they were confined in adult facilities. This is because they tended to see it as a form of punishment and they developed rebellious behavior. They could also adapt bad behavior while among the adult offenders.
This therefore shows that it is much better to sentence and incarcerate the juvenile delinquents in youth facilities as opposed to the adult facilities. Other notable differences include positive assessment of staff-inmate interaction in the youth facility as opposed to adult facilities. This allows for better services to the juveniles. Some research however indicates that adult facilities usually provide access to a variety of institutional services much better that the youth facilities (Kupchik, 2007).
The History and Relevance of Juvenile Boot Camps
Every aspect is built on some historical issues and the juvenile boot camps are not an exception. Juvenile boot camps have their roots from the adult criminal justice system. It was in the year 1983 that the first adult boot camp program was initiated in Georgia.
Since then, there have been development of new boot camps and currently it is estimated that there are more than 70 operational boot camps in different states. Due to the relationship that exists between the juvenile boot camps and the adult criminal justice system (having the same origin), the factors that are attributed to have led to the establishment of the juvenile boot camps are the same as those that led to formation of adult courts and justice systems.
The factors for instance include an increase in the rate of indulgence of the youths in criminal activities, the ever increasing costs incurred in youth detention as well as great burden that were being faced by the juvenile courts among other factors. These factors called for extra intervention measures and the establishment of juvenile boot camps was one of them.
It was in 1985 that the first juvenile boot camp was developed. It was situated in Orleans Parish, Los Angeles. Over the years, other juvenile boot camps have been established and they vary in size, programming and other petty issues. Juvenile Boot camps have gained a lot of attention and recognition over the recent past making them to maintain their image and appeal among various responsible bodies for instance the corrections officials, the policy makers, governments as well as the general public.
Despite this, it is evident that there exists some controversy in regard to the boot camps’ effectiveness. All in all, it is clear that the juvenile boot camps have helped in dealing with the issue of juvenile delinquency especially in regard to instilling discipline and assisting in the assimilation of the juvenile offenders back into the society. This is through teaching of the socially acceptable behavior and advocating for adhering to the stipulated rules and regulations in any setting (Simon, 1995)
Juvenile correction system is essential in correcting the behaviors of young people through rehabilitation so as to avoid future criminal cases. The correction measures should be carried in a manner that will teach the juveniles the effects of crime and the importance of operating in accordance to the law and should not be a form of punishment since this could lead to rebellious actions.
It is evident that there appears to be some differences between the juvenile justice systems and the adult courts as the offenders involved are considered differently. The juvenile justice system has changed greatly over the years due the existences of varying cases and offences committed by the children and the youthful offenders. New strategies are invented to improve the situation.
From the above discussion, it is clear that the importance of effective interventions for juvenile offenders cannot in any way be underemphasized as the group forms a significant portion of the overall criminal offenders worldwide. For this reason, they pose a great challenge to the society and also to the criminal justice bodies or agencies in relation to the seriousness of their offences and also the high frequency in which they carry out the criminal activities.
There have been some improvements in intervention methods used in handling these offenders to enhance effectiveness of justice systems in order to deal with this ordeal in an appropriate manner. Although there are high cost incurred in implementing the measures for instance in the juvenile boot camps, and there are instances of repeated offences, the benefits achieved surpass the drawbacks to a great extent and thus they should be enhanced.
Kupchik, A. (2007). The Correctional Experiences Of Youth In Adult And Juvenile Prisons. Justice Quarterly: JQ, 24(2), 247-247-270.
Quist, R. M and Matshazi G.M. (2000). The Child and Adolescent Functional Assessment Scale (CAFAS): A Dynamic Predictor Of Juvenile Recidivism. Adolescence, 35(137), 181-181-92.
Ramchand, R., Morral, A. R. and Becker, K. (2009). Seven-Year Life Outcomes Of Adolescent Offenders In Los Angeles. American Journal of Public Health, 99(5), 863-863-70.
Simon, J. (1995). They Died With Their Boots On: The Boot Camp And The Limits Of Modern Penalty. Social Justice, 22(2), 25-25.
Styve, G. J., Gover, A. R., and Mitchell, O. (2000). Perceived Conditions Of Confinement: A National Evaluation Of Juvenile Boot Camps And Traditional Facilities. Law and Human Behavior, 24(3), 297-297-308.