Current Issues in Corrections

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Kaila Buffis
9/17/08
Current Issue

The article I found is most related to Chapter 4, “Diversion and Probation”, because it looks at how probation is a great way to help juvenile offenders get back on their feet. The article is about the positive changes that juvenile offenders in California have made due to an increase in probationary programs.

The probation departments in California have changed the way they operate and by doing this have accomplished something extraordinary. Originally, probation for juvenile offenders included, “focus on suppression, enforcement, and monitoring of youthful offenders” (63), but since 1995 all that has changed. A new program called the Comprehensive Youth Services Act / Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (CYSA/TANF) was created that changed the way in which probation works. Now there is a, “focus on families and on rehabilitative and therapeutic approaches” (63), to help juvenile offenders rather than punish them. The new programs aim to help the entire family because most juvenile delinquency starts from the home. Such programs include, “case management services, gang intervention programs, and parenting skills training” (64).

These new initiatives have led to a dramatic decline in juvenile crime. Arrest rates have gone down, the incarceration rate has diminished, and the amount of juvenile offenders in ranches and camps has also dropped. Not only that, but the amount of teen pregnancies have decreased, and the amount of children living in poverty has improved. These are all a result of changes made within the corrections system. I think it is essential that other states learn from what the probation departments in California have done. They are proving that their new proactive approach is making differences both within the system, and within the community. If these teens can be reached before it’s too late they have a great chance at living a life free from the confinement of prison walls.
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