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The Future Of Juvenile Justice

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The Future of Juvenile Justice

Official crime data indicate that the juvenile violence rate is at an all-time high. Chronic male delinquent offenders commit a disproportionate amount of violent behavior

Including a significant amount of the most serious juvenile crimes, such as homicides, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults. Many chronic offenders become adult criminals and eventually end up in the criminal court system. How to effectively deal with chronic juvenile offenders and drug users remains a high priority for the

Juvenile justice system.

Chronic juvenile delinquency has unquestionably become a major concept within the field. The best approach to dealing with chronic offenders remains uncertain, but concern about such offenders has shifted juvenile justice policy toward a punishment-oriented philosophy. (Siegel, L.J. (2002) Juvenile Deliquency: The Core. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thompson)

Family relationships have been linked to the problem of juvenile delinquency by many experts. Broken homes, for instance, are not in and of themselves a cause of delinquency, but some evidence indicates that single parent households are more inclined to contain children who manifest behavioral problems. Limited resource allocations limit the single parent's ability to control and supervise children. In addition, there seems to be a strong association in family relationships between child abuse and delinquency. Cases of abuse and neglect have been found in every level of the economic strata, and a number of studies have linked child abuse and neglect to juvenile delinquency. While the evidence is not conclusive, it does suggest that a strong relationship exists between child abuse and subsequent delinquent behavior.

This relationship does not bode well for delinquency rates because the extent of reported child abuse is on the increase. Some experts believe a major effort is needed

to reestablish parental accountability and responsibility.

Numerous empirical studies have confirmed that lack of educational success is an important contributing factor in delinquency; experts generally agree chronic offenders

have had a long history of school failure. Dropping out of school is now being associated with long-term antisocial behavior. About 10 percent of all victimizations occur on school grounds. School-based crime control projects have not been very successful, and a great deal more effort is needed in this critical area of school delinquency

prevention control.

Self-reported teen substance abuse has increased during the 1990s. Surveys of arrested juveniles indicate sizable numbers of young people are substance abusers. Most

efforts in the juvenile justice system to treat young offenders involved with substance abuse seem to be unsuccessful.

Traditional prevention efforts and education programs have not had encouraging results.

Throughout the past decade, numerous competing positions regarding juvenile justice have emerged. (Siegel, L.J. (2002) Juvenile Deliquency: The Core. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thompson)

As the liberal program of the 1970s has faltered, more restrictive sanctions have been imposed. The "crime control" position seems most formidable as we enter the new

millennium. However, there remains a great deal of confusion over what the juvenile justice system does, what it should do, and how it should deal with youthful antisocial

behavior. The juvenile justice system operates on distinctly different yet parallel tracks. On the one hand, significant funding is available for prevention and treatment strategies. At the same time, states are responding to anxiety about youth crime by devising more punitive measures.

Today, there are over 100,000 youths in some type of correctional institution. The juvenile courts seem to be using the most severe of the statutory dispositions, that

is, commitment to the juvenile institution, rather than the "least restrictive statutory alternative." In addition, there seems to be a disproportionate number of minority

youths incarcerated in youth facilities. The minority incarceration rate is almost four times greater than that for whites, and minorities seem to be placed more often

in public than in private treatment facilities. The OJJDP is committed to ensuring that the country address situations where there is disproportionate confinement of

minority offenders in the nation's juvenile justice system.

The overall organization of the juvenile justice system in the United States is changing. Early on, institutional services for children were provided by the public sector.

Today, private facilities and programs service a significant proportion of juvenile admissions. In the next decade, many more juvenile justice systems will most



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