TITLE: Prevention Strategies For Juvenile Delinquents.
Juvenile delinquency is a legal term for any behavior among children and adolescents that would be considered criminal under law (United Nations 2003, 1). However, the age limit for
Juveniles vary according to the area of jurisdiction. With rising concern as to which
Mitigation approaches are more effective in addressing this problem, the integrated approach which employs different strategies; both preventive and treatment, has been found to be more effective. This paper critically examines the various juvenile delinquents preventive strategies, their pros and cons, and the different treatment strategies that might be used together to bring more efficiency.
TITLE: Prevention Strategies For Juvenile Delinquents.
Electronic monitoring is one of the most successful prevention strategies. This involves putting an electric device that signals correctional officers, parents, guardians or any other concerned party regarding the offender’s movements. The electronic monitoring programmes may include ankle bracelets, wrist bracelets, field monitors, alcohol testing devices, home monitoring devices and voice verification systems. The advantages of electronic monitoring programme have been attributed to its major impact on saving tax payers’ money, cutting down detention facilities budgets and even that of the adjudicated juvenile. Further, electronic monitoring has improved the chances of a successful rehabilitation programme among juveniles by allowing them to stay at home and continue attending school. Some electronic monitoring devices enable the law enforcers to monitor the juvenile monitors in real time making them to strictly adhere to the terms and conditions of their release.
Electronic monitoring as a prevention strategy has several shortcomings; first, it can result to an added cost burden to the families of the juvenile offender as they will be required to cater for the support of the programme as well as payment for fees. Failure to meet the inherent costs results to discrimination against indigent families. Further, this programme can cause emotional effects to the offender as a result of the offender perceiving him/herself as a criminal hence behaving as one, this can therefore reverse the positive effects of the programme. In some cases, electronic devices used for monitoring do not send a warning when their battery is low and
Sometimes they even emit false signals hence giving misleading information to the law enforcers; this can lead to unlawful arrest of the victim before they can get a chance to clear their name.
Juvenile institutions are another juvenile delinquents preventive measure that has offered a myriad of benefits in the restorative justice programme.Here; victims are confined in a facility where they can be monitored closely. These institutions offer a good environment for correction which is beneficial to the offender since they are trained on some relevant skills while in confinement to the institutions. In addition to this, these institutions usually offer an opportunity for the offenders to interact and reconcile with their victims and even victims families; this goes a long way into ensuring that justice prevails to both parties. Further to this, while in the institutions, juveniles are able to work and generate income which can as well go back into boosting the kitty for community development initiatives. Offenders can as well be made to contribute part of their income to the victims, a move that enhances good relations with their victims and responsibility for their actions. However, these institutions have been faced with the challenge of been expensive to maintain. In addition, offenders usually feel confined and they may end up influencing each other negatively since the offenders are allowed to stay in the institutions even after their sentence is complete.
Another juvenile delinquent preventive measures success story lies in the use of boot camps. These are very strict highly structured facilities with instructors who typically act as instructors in a military camp or institution. They are mostly state run although lately a number of private owned boot camps are emerging. So far they have been set up in about ten states in the United States. While these camps have been found to offer a good environment for training physically, instilling discipline, psychological counseling and substance abuse rehabilitation counseling, juveniles from these camps have been found to have a high tendency of reverting back to their truant behavior after leaving the camps. However, they can reduce overcrowding in the prisons especially if a proper aftercare programme is incorporated. In addition, for them to realize meaningful success rate, they should carefully define and select target populations in line with their goals for rehabilitation, recidivism, cost containment and punishment. Further, they should also offer a consistent staff training programme as well as delineating specifically the programmatic features that they expect will bring the desired changes in the participant behavior.
The juvenile intensive supervision probation programme (JIPP) is a community based sentencing option for juveniles who can be safely managed in the community but are too risky for the traditional probation measures. Its benefits rest on the fact that it allows the offender to serve his/her sentence in a community setting with tight restrictions and close supervision hence offering safety to the community. In addition to this, the offender can access a wide range of programmes that are designed to assist in rehabilitation. However, a major drawback associated with this programme is the high cost of running it which includes highly trained staff and resources hence increasing the expenses of running a successful community based programme (Siegel and Welsh 2008 p.531).
Siegel, LA and Welsh, CB 2008, Juvenile delinquency: Theory, practice and law, 10th edn, Cengage learning.
United Nations, 2003, Juvenile Delinquency, (available)http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unyin/documents/ch07.pdf [October 25, 2010].