Juvenile Justice System

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The juvenile justice system and parents across America struggle on a day-to-day basis with their children and substance abuse. It is stated that four out of every five children arrested within the system are under the influence of a substance (alcohol or drugs) when committing the crimes that forced them to be detained and arrested (Alcoholism.about.com, 2010). It is reported within the textbook that seventy-three percent of high school seniors had used alcohol within the past year, which makes the possibility of teenagers entering the juvenile justice system even higher (Siegel & Welsh, 2009). It is also believed that we as a society, does not provide the adequate support to those youth that are using controlled substances; which could in turn result in a more positive outcome, versus a decline in their behavior from initial arrest (Alcholism.about.com, 2010). This is a very true statement because in 2009, the SAMSHA reported that 374,000 citizens were treated for substance abuse between the ages of eighteen to twenty-four; that does not include the amount of individuals who did not seek help and those that were even younger. It also does not tell the story about how many of those individuals started using controlled substances at an earlier age as a juvenile (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, n.d.). According to Joseph Califano, Jr., we are writing of the younger Americans by releasing them back into society without attending to their substance abuse needs (Alcholism.about.com, 2010).

As an American, it is notable that social status plays a vital role in why juveniles embark into the realm of substance abuse. When children aren’t accepted by their peers, they tend to lash out and try things to make their peers accept them, or hide in a corner and not seek any help because they want to be left alone (Siegel & Welsh, 2009). Social disorganization plays another vital role in why juveniles resort to substance abuse. Because the...
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