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Treatment for Juveniles Essay

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Introduction.

            Juvenile offenders compose a considerable chunk of criminal offenders confined in various institutions all over the United States (Juvenile offenders, 2003). In fact, reports show that the number of juvenile offenders has risen over the past decade (Juvenile offenders, 2003). Two Corrections Compendium surveys conducted ten years apart show that the number of juvenile offenders increased by an average of 11.5 percent over the said period (Juvenile offenders, 2003).

            The determination of the determining age for persons to be classified as an adult or juvenile offender vary from state to state (Juvenile offenders, 2003). An accused could execute a waiver to adult court, and the age limit for such a waiver similarly varies in different states (Juvenile offenders, 2003). For example, in Kansas, the age limit could go for as low as ten years of age, while Illinois has set the bar at seventeen tears (Juvenile offenders, 2003).

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            Considering the rising number of juvenile offenders each year, there is likewise an observed increase in the number of secure juvenile facilities in the country (Juvenile offenders, 2003). From 95 secure juvenile facilities in 1993, there are now 169 such facilities based on 22 U.S. reporting systems (Juvenile offenders, 2003).

Characteristics of Good Juvenile Facilities.

            Good juvenile facilities offer various programs for juvenile offenders, including academic courses, mental health counseling, life skills training, vocational training, anger management classes, substance abuse education, and religious programs (Juvenile offenders, 2003). There are also newly integrated programs designed to help juvenile offenders reintegrate themselves in society, in order to allow them smoother transition from detention to the outside world (Baltodano, Platt, & Roberts, 2005). These programs include sexual health education, expressive art therapy, and restorative justice practices (Juvenile offenders, 2003).

Issues in Juvenile Treatment.

            One vital issue in juvenile treatment concerns aftercare programs. Such programs are vital for they serve as the means by which the treated juvenile offender can slowly reintegrate themselves into the community. The primary goal of aftercare programs is to, “Reduce the likelihood of recidivism and to foster success in the community.” (Baltodano et al, 2005) In Baltodano et al (2005), a study to determine the juveniles’ perception of aftercare programs. Particular focus was given on the effectiveness of the transition process as perceived by the youth themselves.

Research Design and Data Analysis

            The Baltodano et al (2005) study utilized the survey as the primary data collection method. The survey involved 120 youth in a chosen urban county detention facility. The participants were asked what their opinions were on issues such as, “The effectiveness of transition services, and characteristics of programs that they felt were beneficial.” (Baltodano et al, 2005)

            The findings of the study revealed that there were no significant relationships that existed between the number of times of previous detention, the youth’s gender, special education status, or the difficulty that the youth encountered with returning to school. Nevertheless, there was a significant finding in that the youths who anticipated being released and going home to family or relatives had a lower mean number of times of being detained again than those who find themselves in other situations upon release.

Conclusion

            A review of the Baltodano et al (2005) study reveals the value of aftercare programs of juvenile detention centers. Based on the findings of the said study, it is deemed vital that carefully planned aftercare programs be implemented in juvenile detention centers. This will ensure that the youths will still be properly monitored. Also, this will allow the youth to receive guidance as to how they can successfully reintegrate themselves into the community. Finally, aftercare programs will help decrease the chances of the youth being detained again.

References

Baltodano, H. M., Platt, D. & Roberts, C. W. (2005). Transition from Secure Care to the Community: Significant Issues for Youth in Detention. Journal of Correctional Education 56(4), p. 372-388.

Juvenile offenders. (2003). Corrections Compendium 28(5), p. 9-15.

Wilder, B. A., Riley III, F. E., Sorensen, L. H. (2004). Quality Improvement in Juvenile Corrections: An Opportunity That Benefits Staff and Clients. Corrections Today             66(7), p. 122-127.

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