Mentoring Program to Reduce Juvenile Recidivism

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Introduction
Youth are often confronted with socio-economical and political challenges including poverty, ethic and minority status and are often cited as at risk for committing long-term community problems like rise in crime due to substance abuse, school drop-out and several forms of academic failures, delinquencies, criminal offenses and unemployment (e.g. Grisso, Vincent & Seagrave, 2005; Champion & Mays, 1991; Fellmeth, 2002). According to Grisso and his colleagues (2005), the argument that in order to help young offenders that were placed under rehabilitation centers reconnect to community and avoid recidivism is to provide them education and employment opportunities upon release. It is in this area where mentoring programs to achieve this goal are gaining popularity, the authors said (p.20). The purpose of this paper is to survey the literature that tackles mentoring the youth at risk of re-offending, particularly those included in the juvenile justice system. Mentoring is an intervention program which aims to create a caring environment for youth offenders and connecting them to education and employment opportunities in their respective communities (Buckley & Zimmerman, 2003). A study in this area is necessary as this will serve as an information tool to government and non-government agencies which handle juvenile delinquents, as they develop mentoring initiatives to reduce recidivism or re-offense. In conducting literature survey, several methods were employed. First, searches were done in databases of electronic journals as well as search engine Google Scholar using keywords like mentoring, mentoring programs, youth offenders, juvenile delinquency, juvenile recidivism, and incarcerated youth. Secondly, bibliographies of recently published researches were reviewed. The criteria considered in selecting potential articles included studies which pertained to youth (within 12-18 age group) at risk of re-offending and delinquency. Also, studies were limited to mentoring initiative conducted in the community and excluded school-based mentoring programs as these pertained to younger adolescents. Literature Review

A. Juvenile Recidivism
Recidivism also referred to as “habitual offense” among youth remains a major concern in different states (Sharkey, et al., 2003). To take a cue on the severity of the problem, consider the state of Washington’s recidivism report of juvenile offenders during the fiscal year ended 2005. According to the state’s Sentencing Guidelines Commission (2005), about 77% of youth offenders incarcerated during the year under studied were boys and around 76% were offenders who had a history of one or more prior offenses (p.1). The overall rate of recidivism for boys and girls were 77& and 72%, respectively. Also, the report showed that recidivism rate increases among age groups. For youth offenders at age 12, the overall recidivism rate was 46.15% while the rate of those at age 15-17 was 81.21%. Offense most commonly committed for the first time and frequently repeated was gross misdemeanor. Researches in the literature noted that youth often confronted with socio-economical and political challenges including poverty, ethic and minority status are often cited as at risk for committing long-term community problems like substance abuses, school drop-outs and several form of academic failures, delinquencies, criminal offenses and unemployment (e.g. Grisso, Vincent & Seagrave, 2005; Champion & Mays, 1991; Fellmeth, 2002). Risk factors commonly cited in the literature include poverty, rampant drug proliferation, conflicts within the family, academic failure, influence from delinquent peers, and lack of positive and health relationships (Vincent & Seagrave, 2005, p.26). Meanwhile, influences that are said to contribute further to the mentioned risks include: isolation of the family because of some members moving outside their community; lack of supervision to the youth due to adults being...
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