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Custom essays: Juvenile Justice

Nowadays juvenile justice in the USA demonstrates some defined trends and objectives. The balance of individualized sanctions and offender-based treatment and versus proportionate and consistent sanctions is one of the primary objectives for modern juvenile justice. However, some obvious reasons prevent achieving of this goal. The objective of this work is to research the latest publications related to juvenile justice and to answer the related questions.
A recurring problem in juvenile justice is determining how to balance individualized sanctions and offender-based treatment versus proportionate and consistent sanctions.
(a) Is this possible?
(b) Why or why not?
After the analysis of some researches it can be answered that it is hardly possible. First of all, different types of sanctions are usually implemented for most of the young offenders. The research in Ohio by Lowencamp and Latessa proves that one kind of sanctions was used for no more than 15% of youth (Lowencamp, Latessa, 2005). Thus, the effect of every type of sanctions can hardly be studied separately, and balance can hardly be reached. Then, the individualized sanctions require sufficient personal information to be effective. Lowencamp and Latessa write that this information is available approximately for 20% of cases (Lowencamp, Latessa, 2005).
The research of Stinchcomb et al describes restoring justice as an effective modern approach in juvenile justice. Exploring the potential of restoring justice as a tool for behavior changes, the authors highlight some success and evaluate is as the modern approach with high potential (Stinchcomb et al, 2006). According to this research, the development of juvenile justice in this direction can shift the balance in juvenile justice to the side of prevention. As it known, the main difference between juvenile and adult justice is the balance between punishment and prevention: the last one is the main objective in juvenile justice. Stinchcomb et al believe that restoring justice is more effective prevention measure, but at the same time they notice: « in contrast to zero tolerance, restorative justice is a slow, analytical, and time-consuming process. In today’s fast-paced, computer-savvy, one-size-fits-all society, those are not highly valued characteristics». (Stinchcomb et al, 2006, p.141)
However, restoring justice is rather new trend and its efficiency is not proved. At the same time, the boot camps are still used as a punishment for young offenders in some states. Despite the proved inefficiency of boot camps as a preventive measure they are still popular. The boot camps with their high recidivism level have an influence on general picture of young criminality in the country.
Concluding the arguments above it can be said that the required balance of sanctions can hardly be achieved nowadays because of the newness of this approach and general inertial resistance of the system.
(c) Do sentencing guidelines that account for the various goals of the system in dealing with youthful offenders offer a plausible solution?
No, they don’t. Generally sentencing guidelines have many useful functions: they define current trends in juvenile justice, reduce discretion, and increase interests in alternative administrative mechanisms. However, Mears (2002) notices that new millennium requires «more effective strategies for preventing and reducing juvenile crime»(Mears, 2002, p.16)
(d) What about a system of graduate sanctions coupled with targeted treatment like that highlighted by O’Connor and Treat?
A system of graduate sanctions coupled with targeted treatment seems to be one of the most effective approaches in the modern juvenile justice. There is no sufficient statistic information to prove the efficiency of graduate sanctions and targeted treatment, however, this concept corresponds to the general trends in the modern juvenile justice. The weakest link in this system is often failures of similar system in other social spheres, for example, drug use treatment.
(e) What are the relevant trade-offs in each of these approaches?
Speaking about the relevant trade-offs in each of these approaches it is necessary to remember that no changes can be effective without the corresponding preparation and reasonable innovation implementation. It means that every described approach can become the efficient measure of juvenile crime prevention. Nevertheless, the practical implementation of every approach requires the detailed analysis of the local situation. As was mentioned above, the development of juvenile justice system varies from state to state. It is impossible to discuss the trade-offs of new approach without the close link with the existing reality.

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