The mission of the department of juvenile justice is to increase public safety by reducing juvenile delinquency through effective prevention, intervention, and treatment services that strengthen family’s as well as turning around the lives of troubled youth. We have learned though research and history, some of the causes of juvenile delinquency are; Poverty , abusive parenting , unstable home environments , children being taken care of by substance abusers (drugs and alcohol),such as broken homes, and unstable or apathetic and non participating community mental illness, neglect and drug addition of the youths themselves.
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In the past various methods have applied, some have worked and others have not. The past reflects the present, the knowledge and wisdom we acquire in the present influences the future. One thing is certain though, in order to understand the changes associated with the court and its procedures, one has to deal with the context in which change has occurred both in earlier eras and today: heavy immigration, riots, excessive violence, development of settlement houses at the turn of the century; the development of psychology and our understanding of behavior and maturation. Cohn A. W.& Crim. D 2004). There are two main views on Juvenile Justice that seem to have existed side by side since the system had developed. The hard line punishment and warehouse view and the soft line rehabilitate and return them to society view. It is time to decipher the facts on both sides of the issue. The mission is to use the best methods and hard data to modernize the system, hence lowering the costs and recidivism though the most effective and cost saving methods available without compromising quality of the programs.
New research completed within the last five years, through government grants and experimental programs have developed updated concepts through examining the latest theories and techniques available, in order to develop the best strategic interventions, their designs aimed at being efficient, cost effective and simultaneously improving the juvenile justice system.
History of Juvenile Justice
Throughout world history, the needs of juveniles were seldom emphasized. Adults and juveniles who violated the law were generally treated in the same manner, and were subjected to the same punishments, which including whippings, mutilation, banishment, torture, and death The development of Juvenile Justice is relatively new. (Bartollas, C. & Miller, S. 2008 p. 4).
During the fifth century A.D., the age of seven was determined as the age where in most cases youths were excused from criminal responsibility under particular circumstances. The onset of puberty was age of twelve for girls and fourteen for boys. At puberty, youths were held solely responsible for their behaviors (Bartollas & Miller 2008 p. 4). This concept continued in medieval Europe. Between 700 and 1500 A.D., children were not viewed as a distinct group with special needs and behaviors children were expected to take on adult responsibilities in the family early in life, and apprentice’s roles in crafts or trades to wealthier families. Country landowners took control over these children and their welfare, the burden of childcare was taken away from their parents’ (Bartollas & Miller 2008 p. 4).
Common-law tradition in England agreed with earlier law that children under seven should not face legal penalties for their acts. With children between seven and fourteen responsibility was determined by the severity of the crime, their maturity, their competence to distinguish between right and wrong, and evidence of obvious malice. At that point in history, English juvenile justice listed 160-200 capital offenses in the statutes for which children could be executed. In London, for example eighteen out of the twenty people (80 %) executed in the year of 1785 were under the age of eighteen. Executions of children continued infrequently, into the 1800s (Bartollas & Miller 2008 p.4).
Juvenile justice began in the colonial period of the United States. It continued the English practices. Tamily was the primary means of social control of their children. The only law enforcement officials were town fathers, magistrates, sheriffs, and watchmen; and the only penal institutions were jails for prisoners awaiting trial or punishment. The state was committed to raising its children correctly and making them follow society’s rules. “These early practice seem to have been integrated into the early Massachusetts Puritan code, which was a model for the U.S. Constitution of 1787” (Bartollas & Miller 2008 p. 5)
In the 1800s, the state became more concerned about the welfare of its children. Increasing urbanization, industrialization, and bureaucratization were changing the face of America. Predominantly increasing amounts of youths were ostensibly out of control in cities,. Reformers looked for solutions to teach them traditional values, asylums and the training schools were developed to help the state maintain its control. The courts became heavily involved with the juvenile problem(Bartollas & Miller 2008 p. 6)..
The concept of parens patriae was formalized by ex parte Crouse in 1838, giving the courts a legal basis for intervening in the lives of children. The court ruled The Bill of Rights did not apply to minors, the state legitimately could confine minors, who, according to the ruling, did not have the right to counsel or trial by jury, and could be confined even in the absence of criminal behavior (Bartollas & Miller 2008 p. 6).
By the end of the 1800s, much of the U.S. population lived in urban areas and worked in factories. Large cities population exploded, as waves of immigration were deluging the nation’s shores with millions of people fated to remain poor. Conditions in the cities were scandalous; there was much poverty, crime, disease, mental illness, and decrepitude. The poor children of these cities were viewed as unfortunate victims of the urban reality (Bartollas & Miller 2008 p. 6).
How Juvenile Court Developed
The first Juvenile Court developed in Chicago, the middle and upper classes wanted to control increasing numbers of immigrants and the poor. Additionally conditions of the Cook County Jail and the Chicago House of Correction, where children were being placed with adults, were deplorable. Escalating numbers of youths were imprisoned with hardened adult felons, criminals who corrupted and exposed them to debauchery, crime, and sin (Bartollas & Miller 2008 p. 6). The reformers composed primarily of middle and upper class women such as Jane Addams, Louise Bowen, and Julia Lathrop, were committed to rescuing the urban American family and its youth by restoring rural values to them (Bartollas & Miller 2008 p. 6). These reformers were aided in their quest by a new emerging philosophy. In the past, school of criminology argued that laws were violated because people willfully chose to violate them. People were presumed to operate because of free will, having total control over their actions; punishment was essential to get them to follow the law. The up-and-coming positivist school argued in contrast, that people were pushed into crime by forces beyond their control, arguing the causes of crime could be discovered with scientific methods and the biological, psychological, social, economic, political, and other environmental causes of crime could be revealed through rigorous and precise diagnosis. Once the causes of crime were found, according to their logic, experts could then step in and cure the offender. Proponents of this philosophy believed juvenile court should use these suppositions in undertaking the problem of youths. The parens patriae doctrine had been accepted by the courts for more than a half century. Social conditions had generated an underclass of people who appeared unable to help themselves. Conservative, humanitarian, and religious philosophies justified the need and provided the power necessary for change. Positivist philosophy held out the promise that with the right mechanism developed, wayward children would be saved, believing jails and prisons plainly were not a place for children. Its first Juvenile court, Cook County Juvenile Court was founded in 1899. Its premise was that the parens patriae doctrine permitted it to take charge of children in need, the causes of the children’s problems could be discovered and treated and that the court had to develop a set of procedures and terminology different from those of the adult courts to achieve these goals (Bartollas & Miller 2008 p. 6).
The Illinois court was arranged to operate informally; all that was necessary were a table and chairs where the judge, the child, parents of the child, and probation officers could sit down to discuss the case together. Children could be brought before the court because of complaints of citizens, parents, police, school officials, or others. The appealing features of the juvenile court philosophy resulted in almost all states setting up juvenile courts and by 1928, only two of thirty-one states had not passed a juvenile court statute. These were civil courts, usually a family court, their purpose was rehabilitation, not punishment. (Bartollas & Miller 2008 p.6- 7)
The public was assured that programs would be developed to solve the problems of wayward youth so that they would be released to the community as respectable citizens. (Bartollas & Miller 2008 p.6- 7). For the next sixty years, Juvenile courts tried to live up to their mandate. For approximately the first twenty years, religiously motivated volunteers bringing moral commitments to their work with juveniles assisted the court. Confidence in the juvenile court began to erode in 1911 and 1912, because of exposés that detailed the court’s deplorable practices and conditions. Another negative influence on the juvenile court following World War I was the general disillusion concerning the idea that society was improving (Bartollas & Miller 2008 p. 8).Subsequently paid social work professionals called “social adjusters” replaced volunteers. The social work direction of these professionals enabled them to redefine the juvenile court as a social agency and lobby successfully for more paid social workers. In the 1920s, the field of social work adopted Freudian psychoanalysis, which focused on the client’s inner feelings. As a result, instead of attempting to deal with social environmental problems as the cause of delinquency, as the earlier reformers did, social workers began to focus on the inner mental workings of the child (Bartollas & Miller 2008 p. 8).
History of Juvenile Confinement
At the time of the American Revolution, the penal system in the colonies was based on Englands’ model . Larger urban jails, county jails, and prisons contained men, women, and juveniles, felons, misdemeanants, insane or sane, at times all together. Smaller rural counties, having less need for large prisons and jails would temporarily house wayward citizens in small jails (Bartollas & Miller 2008 p.8.)
When youths got in trouble, they were subject to the same punishments as adults Local enforcers consisted of watchmen, magistrates, and sheriffs. All those caught, breaking the law, including youths, received fines, beatings, and floggings; were put in stocks; were driven through town in carts to be ridiculed by the citizenry; and in extreme cases were hanged, burned, mutilated, or banished from the community. After punishment, some youths were apprenticed to local crafts men; until the mid-1800s, others were sent on extended whaling voyages; and still others were placed with relatives or farm families’ (Bartollas & Miller 2008 p. 8).
The United States was in a period of transition during the late 1700s and early 1800s. The rural way of life became endangered, because changes were having an irreversible effect on the structure of society, because there was a rising amount of abandoned juveniles, runaways, and those who conflicted with community norms. Like in modern time of today, some reasoned that the natural depravity of humans made attempts at rehabilitation useless . Others hoped to find specific causes for deviancy, and the family was believed to be the primary source of the problem. The examination of case histories indicated that older offenders frequently had been problem children. They concluded if institutions housed the poor, perhaps similar institutions could be set up for children using the well-adjusted family as a model (Bartollas & Miller 2008 p. 8).
Growing numbers of delinquents and other children running in the streets of larger cities, and increasing population, put enormous pressure on existing facilities. Conditions in the jails and prisons were appalling. Youths sentenced for fixed periods were confined with the most awful criminals in society. Morals were corrupted as children ten to eighteen years old were confined with adult felons and a number of youths died of disease (Bartollas & Miller 2008 p. 8). Concern, over the degrading conditions in the jails and prisons, motivated the reformers to establish houses of refuge p. 9). The school, the workshop, and the church were all imparted to the house of refuge their purpose to teach order, obedience, and discipline. As routines were established, the institutions began to resemble a military organizations rather than its original purpose, which had been the family and its values model. Youths were Woken up at sunrise, they were marched to washrooms, paraded in ranks for inspections, marched to chapel, attended school for an hour, and went to breakfast when the bells rang at seven o’clock. From seven-thirty until noon t boys worked in the shops, making needed items of the day, and the girls did domestic work for the institution they did the cleaning, laundry, cooked, and sewed. The lunch hour was from noon until one o’clock, then work continued until five o’clock., A half hour allowed for washing and eating, following that was two and a half hours of evening classes. After evening prayer, youths were marched back to their cells, locked in; silence demanded, for the night until the routine began again p. 10). All refuge houses followed the same schedule and routine. In some, they did a head count frequently to make sure that none had escaped, silence was maintained at all times in many facilities, even during the recreation and exercise periods. Eating at times other than regularly scheduled mealtimes was forbidden, and youths who wanted extra food were required to raise their hands. Everybody had to recite in unison in class.
Although the Reformers were enthusiastic about the house of refuge, residents apparently did not share their positive feelings. Hutchins Hapgood, sent to the New York House of Refuge in the nineteenth century, viewed this setting as a “school for crime,” because “unspeakably bad habits were contracted there. The older boys wrecked the younger ones,” and children who were orphans had an especially hard time. The residents, he added, were overworked while making overalls and were beaten frequently. He bluntly concluded “I say without hesitation that lads sent to an institution like the House of Refuge, the Catholic Protectory, or the Juvenile Asylum might better be taken out and shot.” (Bartollas & Miller 2008 p. 10).
In mid nineteenth century, Reformatories, also known as training schools or industrial schools, developed and were a continuation of the houses of refuge; except they did extend a longer period of schooling, usually half a day, but the biggest difference was the contracting of inmates’. Labor became more exploitative, and manufacturers often inflicted cruelty and violence on juveniles during working hours. Shockingly, the cat-o’nine-tails, was used on youths who did not work fast enough in the reformatory shops. In spite of the questionable nature of these institutions, states persistently built these reformatories/ training schools, by 1890 nearly every state outside of the South had established them (Bartollas & Miller 2008 p. 10).
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The cottage system, introduced in 1854, increased throughout the country. Reformers succeeded in placing these schools outside cities, their rationale being youths on farms would reform when exposed to the rural virtues, the simple way of life, (Bartollas & Miller 2008 p. 10). With the new cottage system, residents were housed in separate buildings, usually no more than twenty to forty per cottage. The first cottages were log cabins; later ones were made of brick or stone. This design was widely accepted and is the basic design for many juvenile facilities even today. (Bartollas & Miller 2008 p. 11).
Present day court issues
There are distinct differences between The Juvenile Court and the Adult Court system. In the Juvenile system, cases are handled differently than in the adult jurisdiction. For example, Juveniles do not have right to bail; juveniles do not have the right to a public trial or a jury trial, Crimes generally are called delinquent acts. The major purpose of the juvenile court is to rehabilitate the offender rather than for Retribution. Juveniles can be taken into custody without a hearing and without a warrant, if officer taking the youth into custody believes their surroundings are harmful to the health and safety of the child, if the juvenile did something illegal they can be picked up in accordance with the arrest laws (they must be read their Miranda rights) or if a police officer knows or suspects the juvenile is a runaway.
There are times when the judge or the State prosecuting attorney may wavier juvenile to an adult jurisdiction to be adjudicated as an adult, in those cases the Juvenile gains his full constitutional rights and is entitled to use adult procedures. The areas of transfer, waiver, and non-amenability are complex areas of juvenile law, and the juvenile delinquency judge’s decision to waive jurisdiction and transfer a youth to criminal court is a profoundly important (Grossmann. & Portly, 2005). But in an Mandatory Judicial Waiver – The juvenile delinquency court is required to transfer a case to criminal court if the juvenile delinquency court judge finds probable cause and the alleged offense is specified by state statute as a mandatory waiver. In mandatory judicial waivers, neither the prosecutor nor the juvenile delinquency court judge has discretion or authority not to waive the youth to the criminal court after probable cause is established. The mandatory judicial waiver process consists of only one decision, the determination of probable cause (Grossmann. & Portly, 2005). In some states like Florida, the state attorney is allowed to choose the venue for the juvenile, and is in fact, determining penalties and outcomes of cases. In my opinion, state attorney should not be the person to determine the penalties; it should be left to a juvenile judge who specializes in and therefore is familiar with that type of adjudication. Some District Attorneys have given out too many overly harsh sentences. One example of such abuse was in Florida Palm Beach, where Prosecutor Barry Krischer, the state’s attorney charged Anthony Laster as an adult, sent the 15-year-old child with a learning disability to adult jail for several weeks for stealing $2 from another student. Anthony Laster had no previous contact with either the juvenile or the adult court. Anthony Laster was a not a danger to anyone. He was a 15-year-old eighth grader with an IQ of 58; Anthony was described by his relatives as having the mind of a five-year-old. The situations was that a few days after his mother died, claiming he was hungry, Anthony asked another boy in his class at a Florida middle school to give him lunch money, when the boy refused, Anthony reached into his pocket and stole $2.00. “Instead of handling the case in the principal’s office, where it belonged, Palm Beach County prosecutor, Barry Kirscher, decided to prosecute Anthony as an adult for this, even though it was his first arrest. Anthony spent the next seven weeks, much of it in an adult jail” including his first Christmas since his mother died in custody (Schiraldi, V. and Ziedenberg, J. 1999) This type of abuse unfortunately is not an anomoly
Hearings on Motions To Waive Juvenile. Delinquency Court Jurisdiction and Transfer Jurisdiction To Criminal Court, The Trial and Adjudication Hearing, The purpose of this hearing is for the juvenile delinquency court judge to determine if the prosecutor has proven the allegations of the petition beyond a reasonable doubt. This determination is made based on evidence presented by the prosecutor and defense evidence presented by counsel for the youth Grossmann & Portley (2005).
The Disposition Hearing, The disposition hearing is the heart of the juvenile justice system. The purpose of the disposition hearing is to determine what the juvenile delinquency court judge will require of the adjudicated youth and his or her family as a result of the youth’s responsibility for violating the law. It is the time at which individualized justice is dispensed and when problem-solving for a particular youth and family is addressed. The Juvenile court jurisdiction typically ends when a person turns eighteen.
Numerous sentences require counseling or other family interventions such as therapy. Students with disabilities (e.g., emotional and behavioral disabilities, learning disabilities, and developmental delays) are over represented in correctional facilities across the United States according to numerous research studies the percentage of students with disabilities in correctional institutions varies among researchers. For example, Quinn et al. (2001) and Zabel and Nigro (2007) estimated 30-70% of students in correctional facilities have a disability; others estimated 30-50% have a disability (e.g., Zenz & Langelett, 2004). Unruh and Bullis (2005) and Wolford (2000) contend 40-70% have a disability. The deficiency of coordination and communication between public schools and the juvenile justice system in regards to transitioning students with disabilities, concerns the future success of juvenile delinquents. Research has indicated that youth with disabilities continually have a difficult time returning to schools and having success in employment. This immediate concern needs to be addressed by all stakeholders; the changes needed that will affect transition planning cannot be made by only one set of individuals. In order to reduce the recidivism rate and improve the future of students with disabilities who are incarcerated, it is imperative that a firm set of roles and responsibilities be established between these important entities (Hogan, et-al 2010).
“Juvenile probation is the oldest and most widely used vehicle through which a range of court-ordered services is rendered. Probation may be used at the “front end” of the juvenile justice system for first-time, low-risk offenders or at the “back end” as an alternative to institutional confinement for more serious offenders. In some cases probation may be voluntary, in which the youth agrees to the conditions of the hearing comply with a period of informal probation in lieu of formal adjudication. More often, once adjudicated and formally ordered
to a term of probation, the juvenile must submit to the probation conditions established by the court. ( Torbet,P)
Stakeholders to Juvenile Justice System comply with a period of informal probation in lieu of formal adjudication. More often, once adjudicated and formally ordered to a term of probation, the juvenile must submit to the probation conditions established by the court.
There are many stakeholders involved in the Juvenile Justice System, including, the Country, the State, Counties services, Judges, Attorneys, The court systems (local state and federal), learning institutes, rehabilitation programs and Correctional instructions and facilities, most importantly society at large ,whom are the citizens and tax payers and are the ones having to live with policy decisions made in their interest. By rethinking how they fund their juvenile justice systems, states and localities can succeed in keeping more youth at home, reduce the number of youth incarcerated, promote better outcomes for young people moving through these systems, and potentially show significant savings to taxpayers. Justice policy institute Justice policy institute) “The juvenile delinquency court should engage the school and other community support systems as stakeholders in each individual youth’s case” (Bartollas & Miller2008 p. 149)
The juvenile court system has come under increasing attack in recent years from both the right and left ends of the political spectrum. The right complains that the system coddles young criminals and sets them loose to prey on society after lenient sanctioning; the left decries the arbitrary railroading of predominantly lower class juveniles by paternalistic juvenile court judges In results of a meta-analysis (a systematic synthesis of quantitative research results) posed two questions: Can intervention programs reduce recidivism rates among serious delinquents? If so, what types of programs are most effective? Although research indicates that intervention programs can reduce overall recidivism rates among juvenile offenders, inadequate attention has been paid to their impact on serious juvenile offenders. In the research overall, juveniles who received treatment showed an average 12-percent decrease in recidivism. This result, although not enormous, was positive, statistically significant, and was large enough to be meaningful. More significantly, however, was the large variability effects across studies. A review of the statistical findings of the 200 studies found that the average intervention effect for these studies was positive, statistically significant, and equivalent to a recidivism reduction of about 6 percentage points. Two views are often articulated about the effectiveness of intervention with serious offenders. “According to the risk principle (Andrews et al., 1990), treatment for delinquent behavior is most effective when provided to juveniles who are at highest risk for reoffending. The opposite view is that serious juvenile delinquents are the most hardened and least likely to respond to treatment”. The results of Meta analysis support the first view-that is, serious delinquents can be helped (Lipsey, et-al 2000).
“The types of treatment that showed the clearest evidence that they were not effective included wilderness/challenge programs early release from probation or parole (based on only two programs), deterrence programs, and vocational programs” (Lipsey, et-al 2000). “Two variables emerged that are important in terms of the amount of treatment provided. First, monitoring to ensure that all juveniles received the intended treatment was essential. Second, the length of treatment was related to the size of treatment effect; that is, the longer the treatment (the average in this sample was 25 weeks), the larger the effects. The type of treatment also was important (Lipsey, et-al 2000). Two types of treatment showed relatively large, statistically significant mean effect sizes for institutionalized offenders across all estimation procedures: interpersonal skills programs (involving training in social skills and anger control) and teaching family homes (community based family-style group homes). Interpersonal skills training was also one of the treatments that had a stronger effect on non-institutionalized juveniles. “Strong, but less consistent, results appeared for multiple service programs, community residential programs (mostly other than juvenile justice programs), and other miscellaneous treatments (Lipsey, et-al 2000). Milieu therapy (in which the total environment, including peers, is structured to support the goals of treatment) showed consistent null results. Drug abstinence programs, wilderness/challenge programs, and employment-related programs did not show statistically significant or consistent mean effects (Lipsey, et-al 2000).
Addressing the problems of gangs
Since the mid-20th century, gang violence in this country has become widespread-all 50 tates and the District of Columbia report gang problems, and reports have increased for 5 of the past 7 years. According to the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (a nationally representative sample of 9,000 adolescents), 8 percent of the youth surveyed had belonged to a gang at some point between the ages of 12 and 17. A common public perception is that most youth are coerced into joining a gang (Howell, 2007). Quite to the contrary, most youth who parties, hanging out, music, drugs, and opportunities to join want to belong to a gang. Gangs are often at the center of appealing social action socialize with members of the opposite sex. The gang may be appealing because it meets a youth’s social needs. Juveniles reported the following reasons for joining a gang, in the order of descending importance 1.protection. 2 For fun. 3. respect 4.For money 5. Joined a friend was in the gang (Howell,2007).
Youths also occasionally cite economic reasons, such as selling drugs or making money, for joining a gang. Another important influence is family members (especially siblings or cousins) who already are part of the gang. Sometimes they join for the safety they believe the gang provides. Even though juvenile gangs declined in numbers and membership across the nation in the last four years of the twentieth century, gangs continue to be a problem in many communities(Bartollas, Clemens p. 293 ) Organized or corporate gangs, have as their main purpose the participation in illegal moneymaking ventures, especially trafficking in crack cocaine . Some ricks factors are; Children whose antisocial behavior consistently worsens are most likely to join gangs. These behaviors include early involvement in delinquency, aggression, violence (without a weapon), alcohol or drug use, early dating, and precocious sexual activity. In adolescence, additional forms of violence emerge-such as attacking somebody with a weapon, that may also predict joining a gang .(Howell 2010).Alcohol and drug use. Alcohol and drug can be an indication of risk Howell 2010). These two early problem behaviors increase the likelihood of later gang involvement, particularly when alcohol or drug use is extensive and involves marijuana use as well (Howell 2010). Although little research has been done on the subject, evidence suggests that certain mental health problems in young people including conduct disorders, externalizing behaviors, hyperactivity, and depression increase their risk of joining a gang. Noted that gang members in juvenile corrections facilities “often are admitted with histories of physical and sexual abuse, substance abuse, psychiatric disturbances, posttraumatic stress disorder, cognitive deficits, poor self-esteem, and other problems (Howell 2010)
Children who are victims of abuse or neglect are more likely to join gangs Forms of violent victimization outside the home, such as assaults, also increase youth’s risk of joining a gang Negative life events. Particularly boyswho experience negative life events also are more likely to join gangs (Howell 2010). Family risks start from birth, parents are critical in promoting child development, Early on, weaknesses in family structure (e.g., a single-parent household, multiple family transitions, or caretaker changes), poverty, and general financial stress are potent risk factors. These adversities diminish effective parental supervision and control and disturb the development of strong family bonds (Howell and Egley, 2005).
“Research by Spergel and colleagues has demonstrated is that only an integrated, multi- dimensional, community-oriented effort is likely to have any long-term effect in preventing and controlling gangs in the United States. This gang prevention and control model must have several components: The community must take responsibility for developing and implementing this m
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