Advantages of community treatment for juvenile offenders
Juvenile courts are institutions that in charge of two kinds of juvenile offenders: firstly, delinquents, who have committed the crimes which would be punishable if committed by adults; and status offenders, whose crimes do not constitute acts punishable by law. When deciding in such cases, the system works on the basis of decision points: various personnel, such as police officers and social workers, consider aspects of a situation and decide what to do with the child. These decisions may lie anywhere on a range of options, from displacing the child from abusive or unhealthy environments to rehabilitation CITATION Bar15 t l 16393 (Barton, n.d.).
Community treatment can be used at any of these decision points. It is an alternative to placing the child in a secure detention facility. These include a lot of activities that help the offender serve time outside the facility, such as probation, community service, home detention, and so on CITATION Bar15 t l 16393 (Barton, n.d.).
Community service does not only prepare youths to shoulder responsibility, but also saves them from incorporating other delinquency attributes while in the company of other offenders. Additionally, they require the offender to give something back to the community, thus working for the greater good. The system, therefore, hopes to instil in them a sense of atonement. Activities for the same may include clean-ups in the neighbourhood to volunteering in the local shelter, thereby also contributing towards developing skills CITATION Bar151 t l 16393 (Barton, n.d.). One of the most important players in the equation are the parole officers, who play a double role of protecting the community, as well acting as a support system for the offenders CITATION Bar111 l 16393 (Bartollas & Siegel, 2011).
Additionally, apart from providing them with a natural environment, community programs are cheaper, and do not disrupt the dynamics of families. Youths who take part in community service are more likely to adjust into the community after the completion of their term. Community service also helps the mental health of youths by helping to cope with feelings of degradation, low self-esteem, and depression, by strengthening their bonds with family and friends, as opposed to the strict regime of institutions. They also help in cases of violent youth by way of numerous interpersonal skill development programs and behavioural treatment CITATION Bar152 t l 16393 (Barton, n.d.).
For juveniles with special circumstances, such as substance abuse, physical abuse, and so on, the system may also provide the opportunity for therapeutic communities. These communities, or groups, help individuals interact with each other to overcome their addiction problems. Furthermore, since the child/juvenile is levied a community sentence, he/she can also attend a self-contained community, which are difficult to operate in a prison environment. Being free of the confines of a prison makes them more willing to participate in correctional programs CITATION Bar111 l 16393 (Bartollas & Siegel, 2011).
There are numerous programs that help youth offenders serve their time by way of community service than jail time. Probation seems to be the most effective, with 54% of delinquents and 60% of status offenders being placed on the same. Since probation comes with conditions of its own, and failure to abide by them counts as a constitutional misdemeanour, it is a great motivation for youths to work harder and towards greater personal development. Community service is a major part of probation CITATION Bar151 t l 16393 (Barton, n.d.).
Additionally, day treatment programs are also effective in inculcating responsibility and helping youths acquire necessary technical skills. Wilderness and adventure programs and individual mentoring are also considered as viable options CITATION Bar111 l 16393 (Bartollas & Siegel, 2011). While there is an abundance of programs that focus on community treatment for juvenile offenders, they will be much more effective if the focus is balanced between behavioural and cognitive therapy and offering them interesting, useful life skills. Given the profile of youth offenders, who often come from households that are neglectful and abusive, a set of skills for them to employ will be much more effective in the long run. For example, programs that focus on practical application of subjects, building, carpentry, and even diving and the like inculcate discipline, and can be conducted not only to ensure consistent attendance, but to make a significant contribution towards behavioural modification CITATION Bar111 l 16393 (Bartollas & Siegel, 2011).
BIBLIOGRAPHY Bartollas, C., & Siegel, L. (2011). Corrections Today. Wadsworth: Cengage Learning.
Barton, W. H. (n.d.). Juvenile Justice: Community Treatment – Diversion, Pre-adjudication, Post-adjudication, Aftercare, Issues And Trends, Conclusion. Retrieved September 14, 2015, from Law.jrank.org: <a href=”http://law.jrank.org/pages/1501/Juvenile-Justice-Community-Treatment.html”>Juvenile Justice: Community Treatment – Diversion, Pre-adjudication, Post-adjudication, Aftercare, Issues And Trends, Conclusion</a>
Barton, W. H. (n.d.). Juvenile Justice: Community Treatment – Issues And Trends. Retrieved September 14, 2015, from Law.jrank.org: <a href=”http://law.jrank.org/pages/1498/Juvenile-Justice-Community-Treatment-Issues-trends.html”>Juvenile Justice: Community Treatment – Issues And Trends</a>
Barton, W. H. (n.d.). Juvenile Justice: Community Treatment – Post-adjudication. Retrieved September 14, 2015, from Law.jrank.org: <a href=”http://law.jrank.org/pages/1496/Juvenile-Justice-Community-Treatment-Post-adjudication.html”>Juvenile Justice: Community Treatment – Post-adjudication</a>