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Juvenile Justice System

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Keahna Slater

on 13 May 2013

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Transcript of Juvenile Justice System

Full Process And Successful Alternatives The Juvenile Justice System History Of The Juvenile System There has not always been a court for juveniles alone. "The separate juvenile justice system is about 100 years old. The idea of treating juveniles different than adult criminals came around in the 18th century because many people believed that a child could not be responsible for their actions if they were not fully developed and did not understand the severity of their actions. But the first actual juvenile court wasn't established until 1899 in Cook County, Illinois. It was widely accepted and within 25 years most states had set up a juvenile court. The idea wasn't to punish but to rehabilitate. It was the courts job to "have the child's best interest in mind and to guide the juvenile on to life as a responsible, law-abiding citizen" (americanbar.org) Reasons For Reform "Detention reform should be implemented around the country to reduce the number of youth inappropriately or unnecessarily detained, reduce racial inequalities in the juvenile court system and improve conditions of confinement for detained youth." (Coalition for Juvenile Justice) The idea of a juvenile court was always a good one and many of the judges started out honestly with the best interest of the child in mind. But after many years of seeing the same delinquents commit the same crimes over and over, many of the judges have gotten tired and lost faith in the system and its ability to be successful. This leads to some of them not even giving many of the juveniles a chance to change. Repeatedly incarcerating them even though they see it doesn't work only lets the delinquent get comfortable or know what to expect and they'll continue with the crime because they already know the punishment and believe that they can handle it. Alternatives There are quite a few alternatives to immediate incarceration after a juvenile commits a crime such as probation, community service, mentoring and a program called the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative) that is completely based upon offering juveniles an alternative to a detention center admission as a first choice. Proposed Alternative Program The idea that we have would be called MCS or Motivating Children In School. Its a program that would be available at every high school as a support group for at risk teens. An MCS sentence would be similar to a probation sentence and would be mandatory. The program would offer time occupying activities and go on trips and outing also while teaching the student that criminal activity is not a productive step towards their future. The group would consist of volunteer mentors to run the program and a “buddy” that is also an MCS student, that would act as a sponsor. If the teen has committed a non-violent or civil offense they are given a mandatory 3 months in the program. For teens who have committed a violent offense a 6-12 month time period is mandatory. Significance A closer look needs to be taken at the juvenile justice system because there are many first time offenders that because of their attitude or other circumstances, they are sent to a juvenile detention center. Tax dollars are spent on incarcerating someone that is not a threat to society. The teen feels like they have been given up on because they must now spend time in what is reputed as a violent and depressive place. And the spaces needed for the violent or repeat offenders are now being taken by someone that could learned or benefit from community service, mentoring, etc. Alternative programs give the juvenile hope of a better future. "It also helps youthful offenders succeed rather than keeping then in the system" (Lynda Cohen: Press of Atlantic City) The students would also receive weekly counseling and instructions on controlling their anger. If a student refused the program then they would have to appear in court where they would be sentenced to a new consequence. For non-violent offenses the student could receive community service. For students who has committed a violent offense they could receive community service, jail time, etc. The program would be funded by tax dollars that have been redirected from the juvenile detention centers (JDC) to the MCS program.The only cost would be for the trips, outings, and counselors. Proposed Alternative Program Cont. Juvenile Justice Process
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