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Many societies continue to grapple with the challenge of juvenile delinquency. The problem has taken different forms since there are numerous factors contributing to juvenile offending. Domestic violence, lack of social support, and poverty are some of the risk factors for juvenile offending. It is also evident that most of the young offenders who have gone through different incarceration centers are never rehabilitated. Some of them believe that such institutions only waste their time. This paper gives a personal opinion, reflection, and summary of the article “Metamorphosis: How Missouri Rehabilitates Juvenile Offenders” by Jennifer Dubin.
The selected article uses the case of Missouri to explore the problem of juvenile offending and the best approaches to deal with. In the state, a network of small facilities was created since the 1980s (Dubin 2). Such institutions have been focusing on education and therapy. There are group homes and treatment centers for juveniles incarcerated for minor offenses. Residential centers target individuals who commit arson or robbery. Staff members also receive adequate training in order to achieve their objectives. Such facilities are run and operated by the state’s Division of Youth Services (DYS).
The targeted juvenile offenders in training or reform schools are required to wear uniforms and attend reading and mathematics classes. Competent staff members form multidisciplinary to ensure personalized or differentiated instructions are available to the children. The strategy has resulted in positive results whereby over 84 percent of the targeted juveniles tend to be actively engaged (Dubin 4). The rate of recidivism in Missouri is also low. Such centers promote positive practices such as teamwork, collaboration with staff members, and acquisition of skills. Therapies empower individuals to support one another and eventually realize their potential. After completing their courses, these children are guided and supported to get job opportunities.
Personal Opinion and Feelings about the Article
The above article presents a powerful model that can be embraced in different states to support juvenile offenders. It is agreeable that juvenile delinquency is one of the challenges affecting many communities. Unfortunately, most of the existing support systems and models aimed at meeting the needs of these offenders are ineffective. The case of Missouri shows how the situation can be transformed using evidence-based strategies or models. The outstanding observation made from this article is that juvenile offenders should always be treated as children who require advice and support in Missouri (Dubin 4). They should also receive appropriate academic instructions in a favorable learning environment. Before such children are enrolled in their respective facilities, judges consider and exhaust any other form of intervention such as counseling, community service, and probation. Such measures are taken seriously in an attempt to encourage empower the offenders without admitting them in the state’s residential facilities.
The manner in which juveniles convicted of serious crimes are handled and empowered is quite promising and encouraging. It is evident that children sentenced as adults for serious felonies also receive adequate support and training. Family members and staff members liaise to develop personalized plans for every child. Teachers focus on all subjects using differentiated instructions. The learning environment for these juveniles is also appropriate for continuous empowerment. Videos and other learning materials are used to improve the process (Dubin, 5). The main objective is to ensure the targeted youths transform their lives.
The reader observes clearly that the mass imprisonment of young offenders is a policy that has failed to produce meaningful results in the country. This is the case because the outdated approach dampens the hopes of many young offenders in the country. Consequently, affected individuals find it hard to achieve their goals or lead better lives. The article also reveals that recidivism rates tend to be high when juvenile offenders are not supported (Dubin 7). Personally, I believe that the article presents evidence-based concepts and insights that can be implemented in different residential centers across the United States. The move will support the changing needs of many young offenders and guide them to become productive members of the society.
It would also be appropriate for researchers in the field of juvenile criminal system to undertake numerous studies in order to propose better incentives and strategies for empowering these individuals. They should also be keen to identify the major risk factors for juvenile criminality in the changing global environment. The article by Jennifer Dubin is, therefore, an informative document that sensitizes communities and state governments about the importance of supporting juvenile offenders instead of vilifying them (Dubin 2). This strategy has the potential to empower more troubled children, reduce the level of recidivism, and reduce the burden of crime in the country.
The treatment model developed by DYS for different residential centers across the state empowers juvenile offenders to become better persons. The environment makes it easier for them to share their ideas, learn new ideas, and support one another. The attributes and strategies embraced in these residential centers in Missouri should, therefore, be replicated elsewhere to support the needs of every juvenile offender.
Dubin, Jennifer. “Metamorphosis: How Missouri Rehabilitates Juvenile Offenders.” American Educator, vol. 36, no. 2, 2012, pp. 2-11.