“Rehabilitation in Juvenile Justice”
The decline of the rehabilitation system and reforms
Rehabilitation for juveniles has been on a decline for the last 20 years. This is because many people consider that juvenile crimes are getting worse and the kids need to be disciplined1. Unfortunately this has backfired in a bad way, because the juvenile crime problem has not been stemmed by this means. In fact it has increased and juvenile crimes are on the rise.
The whole purpose of rehabilitation for juveniles is based on the assumption that if these young offenders were treated with decency and respect they would be able to understand the merits of giving up their criminal intents and be able to live a normal crime free life. Debates in the 70’s decided that rehabilitation was not working. This was based on the Lipton report conducted in 1975.
Since the 19th century rehabilitation for juveniles usually consisted of sending them to institutions to learn better behavior, but this was not as effective as it could be because the institutions themselves were not really following humane principles. Attempts in the 60’s to decrease the number of institutions and introduce more community programs to teach these kids better behavior but these programs did not work. This was largely due to the fact that the system was not being applied correctly. In the same period, probation for the kids was tried to attempt to deinstitutionalize the juveniles, but institution continued to increase and probations decreased. Communities on the other hand are getting more scared and outraged by the heinous crimes these young people were committing. They want to safeguard their communities and families from these criminals and ensure that their kids would not be tempted to do criminal acts like these juvenile delinquents. They felt that these youths should indeed be treated like adult criminals and they would then mend their ways. These failures in reform attempts led to the implementation of punishing the young criminals for their crimes and not attempting to rehabilitate them. This led to an even greater demand for the reform institutes and conditions began to deteriorate further for the inmates.
In Massachusetts in the 1970’s commissioner Miller closed all 5 correctional institutions in an effort to bring humanity back into the justice system. He sought to replace them with community centers. In the 80’s Utah followed suit and tried to implement the same changes. The emphasis was on concentrating on individuals rather than an overall “let the punishment fit the crime” system. In addition the correctional institutes were made far more humane. These changes resulted in a 66% decline in juvenile crime in Utah. In light of these facts we should consider the merits of rehabilitation in helping to decrease crime and help juvenile offenders.
What do community programs have to offer?
The “Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention” has initiated a number of community programs to address the problem of juvenile delinquency and youth crimes2. The aim of these institutions is to decrease the crime and help these young offenders to learn a better way of life without crime. They are hoping that they can change the behavior of these juveniles and prevent them from being repeat offenders.
These community projects are committed to educating the young offenders and persuading them that they have a duty to help the victims of their crimes. By doing this these community systems are teaching juveniles to understand people rather than just blindly obeying state laws. This also helps them to understand that laws are made to help and protect people.
The second aim of the community centers is to reassure the community that their neighborhood will be safe and crime will go down. They want to ensure that the community does not need to fear these juveniles anymore as they will be able to educate them and stop them from being repeat...
References: Macallair, D (1993). What does the system have to offer? Reaffirming Rehabilitation in Juvenile Justice. [Electronic version].
http://public.getlegal.com. Retrieved from http://public.getlegal.com/legal-info-center/juvenile-justice/juvenile-programs
Piquero, A, & Steinber, L. Rehabilitation Versus Incarceration of Juvenile Offenders: Public Preferences in Four Models for Change States . [Electronic version].
Cose, E (2010). Children Are Not Too Old to Change. [Electronic version].
(n.d.) http://www.associatedcontent.com. Retrieved from http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/333918/the_juvenile_justice_system_may_actually.html
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