Treatment vs. Punishment
There are many different types of crimes committed by juvenile delinquents in today’s society. These crimes consist of violent crimes, property crimes, forgery, fraud, vandalism as well as many others. In 2009, there were 32,638,900 youths in the United States and 1,906,600 of them were arrested for a type of crime. (Puzzanchera & Adams, 2012). There are many options that the Department of Juvenile Justice System can lead towards such as punishment or treatment, but the rehabilitation depends on the juvenile at hand. Most research suggests there is a reduced recidivism amongst juveniles who receive treatment. Treatment options are the ideal way to deal with juvenile delinquency.
The definition of juvenile delinquency is a behavior against the criminal code, committed by an individual who has not reached proper adulthood by state or federal law. (Bartol & Bartol, 2011). Different states have different age of jurisdictions ranging from ages 15 through 17 which 37 states have adopted. “The age of the youth dictates whether the juvenile court or the adult court system has authority over the case.” (Listwan, 2013, Sec 1.2). For instance, if a juvenile committed a crime in Michigan at the age of 17 the jurisdiction would be in adult court system. Treatment and Punishment Concepts
There is a debate on whether juvenile delinquents should be punished for their crimes, or if they should be rehabilitated for the crimes they committed. When many people look at the court system they may believe that the juvenile justice system is geared towards punishment but in the past, the juvenile justice system was geared towards rehabilitation. “Historically, the juvenile justice system was oriented toward rehabilitation and care of the youth.” (Listwan, 2013, Sec 1.3). In recent years, society is getting back to rehabilitation concepts by incorporating different treatment options whereas in the 1970’s a psychologist by the name of Robert Martinson did a study on whether or not treatment reduced recidivism rates. In his study, Martinson concluded that treatment did not lead to lower recidivism rates and stated, “Nothing works” when it came to treatment. (Listwan, 2013). Currently in the midst of juvenile delinquency, research is showing that treatment services are working by as much as 30–35 percent. (Listwan, 2013). In Australia, a study was conducted on recidivism rates for juvenile offenders and they reported that 1,500 juvenile justice clients reoffended, which was a 61 percent increase. (Day, Howells & Rickwood, 2004). They were astonished by this number and began to implement rehabilitation known as a “what works” approach to offenders. “This approach can be summarized by a core set of principles of human service delivery. Collectively, these principles suggest that reductions in recidivism can be maximized when programs select appropriate candidates, target factors that directly relate to their offending, and are delivered in ways that facilitate learning.” (Day, Howells & Rickwood, 2004, Para 5). This program appears to be working at the recidivism rates are decreasing. The United States is also implementing rehabilitation programs to help reduce recidivism rates. “More than 30 years of research has produced a body of evidence that clearly demonstrates that rehabilitation programs work.” (Przybylski, 2008, Pg 2). Juvenile Sex Offenders and Juvenile Justice Intervention Strategy A juvenile sex offender is described as a youth who has been convicted of a sex crime which may include rape, sodomy, fondling, or other forced sexual act. (Listwan, 2013). Numerous people believe that society should throw away the key on these juvenile sex offenders. “Sex offenders are often placed on the lowest rung of the criminal hierarchy— meaning that most people feel that sex offenders are the worst of the worst.” (Listwan, 2013, Sec 9.4). In some cases, if a child does not receive the proper...
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