How Effective Is Juvenile Justice System


HowEffective Is Juvenile Justice System

Thejuvenile justice system has been struggling with existing tensionbetween the active role of applying the positive executive role thisis by enforcing constructive change in character in the youth whocommit crime, and their force in instilling discipline for violationof law by the young people. One of the disheveled and overarchingobjectives of the juvenile system is to ensure that the public issafe from any further destruction that may be caused by the youngoffenders and also to develop impact and alter the life of thecriminals into better and productive young people, as well as,preventing further acts of causing scandals (Kocik &amp Ferreri,1998).

Forthe juvenile system to reach these goals, they require highcapability, well-set ways of direct control of behavior, and lay downstrategies to induce beneficial behavior change that will not requirecourt intervention or supervision even in future (Kocik &ampFerreri, 1998). Community supervision and custodial care are the twoprimary methods that have been used for some time to manage andcontrol deteriorating behaviors among the young people, but so far,the efficiency of these methods is questionable. More so, theprograms endorsed to reduce recidivism and promote other positiveoutcomes have been the most difficult and problematic (Muncie, 2006).The justice system has tried to use different treatment programs, butthe effectiveness of the programs remains under scrutiny since it ishard to determine and their efficacy is in question. Variousresearches have been going on, and the findings are hard toincorporate in the juvenile justice system (Muncie, 2006). This pieceof work presents an outline of reforms, a more integratedorganizational model presenting evidence-based programming toincrease the general effectiveness of the juvenile system.

Protectingthe public especially by tumbling recidivism while managing andreducing the risks involved is purely directed and handled by theadministrative models. Enhancing self –sustaining function for thetreated criminals and moderating the criminogenic risk factorsrevolves around the evidence- based programming (Muncie, 2006).Support for effective programs is laid down to ensure there issufficient assortment to give correspondence to the needs of theoffenders. The range of programs incorporates offenders graduatinginto different levels of supervision and direction to allow improvingoffenders to step down and worsening offenders to go up the ladder ofmore structured and complex programs.

Preventionand Intervention Programs for Juvenile Crime

Forjuvenile justice systems to be efficient, they should integrate twodistinct but rather overlapping deeds that are prevention andintervention (Ward &amp Kupchik, 2009). Both endeavors havedifferent purposes and calls upon the effort of different players,program facilitators, and agencies. Prevention is purely acommunity-based activity, which aims at helping young people fromindulging in deviant behaviors and constantly involving them with thejuvenile justice system. Prevention as a program is easily done inschools, mental and public health center, social services agenciesand churches (Kocik &amp Ferreri, 1998). Additionally, lawenforcement and juvenile justice agencies are often involved butmainly the focus of prevention as a program is to curb those who areat a risk of indulging in offending behaviors but have not yet beeninvolved in any offense or referred to any juvenile justice agent.

Surprisingly,there would be no need for juvenile justice system if at allprevention as a program was well implemented in the society since itis considered the most fundamental part of an effective approach inaddressing juvenile offenses in the community (Ward &amp Kupchik,2009). Although the program has been partially effective, it hasproved to be the best after producing tangible outcomes for theaffected youth, the community, and the juvenile system at large.Research and practice have presented much about prevention as aprogram, but the question of how to optimize the program forcost-effective impact into young people still prevails. It is clearthat some of cases are not accepted in the juvenile system since theyare termed as minor or they lack enough evidence. Beyond that point,the offenses are referred to the juvenile system as interventions.Juvenile Justice Intervention as program involves supervision andtreatment components (Kocik &amp Ferreri, 1998).

Controlinvolves systems like probations, day reporting, secured custodialinstitutions and electronic monitoring. All these supervisorycomponents are designed to monitor and manage the behaviors of youngpeople. Treatment component is integrated into the supervisionactivities to assist in behavioral change and allow continuation ofthe change gained after the process of supervision ends (Botvin,2003). Treatment part involves activities like vocational training,academic instructions, counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy.

TheObjective of Behavioral Change Programs for Young Offenders

Moreevidence has emerged supporting the treatment given to juvenileoffenders, and it is clearly effective (Ward &amp Kupchik, 2009).However, questions about the balance between treatment and punishmentstill prevail. Recent research shows that when it comes to eitherpunishing or treating the offenders, three things are important toput into consideration. First, it is clear that in cases of juveniledelinquents, regulatory apparatus used have only diffident positiveresults on ensuing recidivism while some adverse effects are notedtoo. Second, programs that deal with purposely-instillingdisciplines, like those that the prison and boot camps apply, haveminimal or no impact on recidivism in the real sense they evenpromote it. Third, many programs geared towards behavior change andtherapeutic, in nature, have demonstrated very pleasing effects thathave turned out to be positive even in cases of the very dangerousoffender (Botvin, 2003).

Ifthe goal is to reduce or completely erase the criminal behavior ofthe youth and ensure public safety, then the three findings have thesome implications. One, minor offenders who are not at risk ofrepeating their mistakes should not be under juvenile justice system(Muncie, 2006). Two, offenders with the likelihood of repeating theoffenses and endangering the society should be provided withtherapeutic services, put under minimal supervision. Also, juveniledelinquents who are inborn and out of control maybe subjected topunishment for purposes of reducing recidivism.

Challengeof Taking Effective Programs to Scale

Moreresearch is being conducted on the effectiveness of enactingtreatment programs on juvenile offenders (Ward &amp Kupchik, 2009).In addition, these programs are available to the practitioners, andthe research is resulting in the identification of effectiveprograms, providing significant details on their essentialcharacteristics. Two main reasons have occurred in such an expansionof this knowledge. First, there is deeper knowledge about the effectsof programs for juvenile offenders, and mental-analysis as aparticular technique has been applied to most juvenile delinquentsprograms. The profound and extensive research on an enormous andexpanding organization of evaluating and studying the differenttreatment programs for the young offenders has led to theidentification of various agenda and agenda types that result inpositive effects. Again, they lead to reduced recidivism in outcomeslike attending schools, improving family relationships, creatingemployment and acquiring healthy mental status (Botvin, 2003).

ArePrograms Used in Practice Effective?

Inwell-designed studies, it is proved that some widely used programswith an intention of reducing criminal and antisocial behavior arenot useful. Studies try to relate the non-effectiveness of theprograms to the failing Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE)program, which is known to be the main program dealing withprevention of delinquency behaviors (Botvin, 2003). This program hasbeen reputed to be effective and it has been used blindly only torealize that it is not effective. DARE had operated for 25 yearsbefore its adverse effects were evaluated and its negative impactwere finally accepted (Botvin, 2003). Another interesting program,which was thought to be effective, was prison visitation plan it waslater discovered to be ineffective after a series of events that tookplace in one of the juvenile prisons at New Jersey (Ward &ampKupchik, 2009).

Bootcamps have been considered to be less effective too. According tomental analysis, it shows that boot camps and other forms ofdisciplinary programs elevate recidivism with around eight percent(Birkeland, Murphy-Graham &amp Weiss, 2005). Thus, they are noteffective. However, boot camps have one advantage in that the inmatessay that its environments are serene and more therapeutic compared totraditional juvenile reformations.


Manyscholars are fighting to ensure there are noble changes in thejuvenile systems and total effectiveness is attained to avoid anydiscrimination. Early interventions in cases of minor offenses anddevelopment of effective programs that will deal with rehabilitationmore than punishment will be of great help. Policies like zerotolerance, which overwhelms the low-risk offenders, should beeliminated in the juvenile system. Ways to reform the system arepresented as the reduction of the minorities and elimination of theprocess of transferring the juvenile offenders to the criminaljustice system. Botvin (2003) emphasizes the importance ofincorporating education re-entry and dropout prevention programs inthe juvenile system. As a result, there will be a secure provision ofcare and support to the released juvenile detainees. Families willalso benefit since they will have an opportunity to help their kidsduring this adjustment period.

Suggestionsto reform the juvenile detention programs may include the change ofpolicies concerning incarceration and financial assistance. Oneproposal from Ward &amp Kupchik (2009) is to restrict the offensesthat are punishable by incarceration making it easy for youngoffenders who are a threat to the community be confined. Other ideasentail investing in alternatives to confinement, changing financialincentives that will finally favor the detention and buildtreatment-oriented detention center for few offenders who areconfined.

Insummary, evidence has been found that identifies effective programsmeant for juvenile offenders following the availability of themuch-needed research to support the evidence-based practice. However,the research is not sufficient enough more research is needed toidentify effective programs that can be used in the juvenile system(Birkeland, Murphy-Graham &amp Weiss, 2005). In addition, someresearch evidence on what works best has identified programs that aremore efficient towards changing the lives of juvenile offenders.Nevertheless, it has been indicated that the juvenile justice systemstill does not offer maximum benefits as provided by the spottedprograms meant for evaluation, and the probability is that they maynever provide those benefits. Therefore, the juvenile justice systemis still not effective but future researches will assist inidentifying programs that will make the system effective.


Birkeland,S., Murphy-Graham, E., &amp Weiss, C. (2005). Good reasons forignoring good evaluation: The case of the drug abuse resistanceeducation (DARE) program. Evaluationand Program Planning,28(3),247-256.

Botvin,G. J. (2003). Prevention of adolescent substance abuse through thedevelopment of personal and social competence. Preventingadolescent drug abuse: Intervention strategies,115-140.

Esterl,R. M., Henzi, D. L., &amp Cohn, S. M. (2006). Senior medical student“Boot Camp”: can result in increased self-confidence beforestarting surgery internships. CurrentSurgery,63(4),264-268.

Kocik,J. F., &amp Ferreri, C. P. (1998). Juvenile production variation insalmonids: population dynamics, habitat, and the role of spatialrelationships. CanadianJournal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences,55(S1),191-200.

Muncie,J. (2006). Governing young people: Coherence and contradiction incontemporary youth justice. Criticalsocial policy,26(4),770-793.

Ward,G., &amp Kupchik, A. (2009). Accountable to what? Professionalorientations towards accountability-based juvenile justice.Punishment&amp Society,11(1),85-109.