Gary Sweeten delves into a rather overlooked subject, the effects of juvenile justice on high school education, whereby court involvement and first-time arrests have a significant negative impact on students and educational attainment in general. The longitudinal studies reviewed by this author indicate that first-time arrests increase the incidences of labeling and students are more likely to drop out of high school after such arrests.
The article is based on criminal justice theory, whereby issues such as labeling and deterrence have negative educational outcomes. The theory has two perspectives, with one indicating that labeling induces a form of deviant self-concepts, which offsets a series of deviant behaviors including juvenile delinquency, poor performance, and truancy (Sweeten, 2006). The other perspective suggests that labeling increases delinquency even further, due to the lack of conventional opportunities for behavior change.
"Two versions of labeling theory predict different mechanisms between juvenile justice involvement and dropout. One version of labeling theory proposes that labeling induces a deviant self-concept. This, in turn, leads to deviant behavior including delinquency, truancy, and poor school performance" (Sweeten, 2006, P. 463)
Gary similarly pays attention to the deterrence theory, which conversely suggests that formal juvenile sanctioning is one of the most effective strategies for the reduction of offenses by youths (Sweeten, 2006). The theory suggests that sanctioned teenagers have a higher likelihood of adopting conforming behaviors and this leads to increased involvement in school.
In the present study, however, the researcher analyzed data from different subjects to arrive at two important conclusions. First, arrests and court involvement are both detrimental to educational outcomes, which is consistent with the theory of formal labeling (Sweeten, 2006). The second conclusion suggests that the effects of court involvement are contingent upon prior cases of delinquency. Using a nationally-representative dataset, this research is fairly reliable, reaffirming the assertions of the labeling theory, that juvenile justice is a detriment, especially for the young people who are not involved so much in delinquency (Sweeten, 2006).
Responding to Juvenile Crime: Lessons Learned
Greenwood believes that there is a longstanding debate regarding the most effective way of dealing with juvenile delinquents, despite the fact that dispositional options have been diversified over the years. In the research, the author looks at different juvenile correction alternatives, dropping hints that community-based alternatives with high intensities and variant interventions are the most effective. The article similarly delves into the recent proliferation of boot camps as a result of their popularity within the political class, but in reality, most of them have little or no effect on recidivism. According to Greenwood (1996), it is apparent from the research that juvenile systems are in urgent need of different dispositional options, together with elaborate frameworks to monitor and ascertain whether they are effective or not.
"Little is known about which correctional approaches are best suited to particular types of youths at least in part because there have been only a limited number of careful program evaluations" (Greenwood, 1996, P. 76).
Despite the series of research studies conducted by Massachusetts Institute over a duration of 25 years, the debate continues as to whether there is an appropriate way of dealing with chronic juvenile delinquency. Recent reforms have been enacted, with the most recent being a policy framework for waiver or the transfer of offenders from juvenile courts to criminal courts but this has not served as a deterrent either (Greenwood, 1996). The difficulty affecting correctional facilities is the failure to evaluate the different alternatives available, to ascertain which particular type is best suited to deal with a specific set of juvenile delinquents. Correctional practitioners and judges are duped into believing that they can assess the effectiveness of a program through mere observation. As the author suggests, an evaluative program should involve a collection of follow-up recidivism data relating to a representative sample, which is then compared to an appropriate control group to determine the precise approach which gives the assurance of community safety (Greenwood, 1996). One of the fundamental lessons learned so far is that the most reliable predictor of possible juvenile delinquency is a review of previous involvements, association with delinquent colleagues and the exercise of problematic behaviors in everyday settings.
Demographic and Offence-Related Variables in Pennsylvania Court-Ordered Placements for Juveniles
Asplin and Beighley review the different considerations that judges make when issuing placement decisions. One such consideration is the charges against the juveniles, which they reviewed across the state of Pennsylvania, to determine whether there are consistencies. The research outcomes indicated that there are predictable placement patterns, whereby the juveniles with the most severe charges were assigned the most stringent placements (Asplin & Beighley, 2011). This notwithstanding, it emerged that there are different patterns across demographic differences of gender, with results indicating that female offenders faced less-restrictive care facilities as opposed to their male counterparts.
The authors selected Pennsylvania because it is among the few states which have worked towards balanced restorative justice, whereby there is an elaborate and highly structured model governing all dispositional decisions (Asplin & Beighley, 2011). In a majority of the hearings within the state, the judges have the liberty of choosing between probation, confinement to a juvenile facility, community service or even restitution.
"Pennsylvania is among those states that have adopted the philosophy of balanced and restorative justice as a model formits juvenile justice system. The model and its implementation are described in the Juvenile Act and numerous publications, including the Mission and Guiding Principles for Pennsylvania's Juvenile Justice System" (Asplin & Beighley, 2011, P. 5).
Results from this study revealed a lot of diversity when it comes to juvenile cases, whereby the pattern of offenses differed with regard to placements. In the most stringent and secure residential homes, for instance, juveniles had very serious summaries of offenses, misdemeanor, and felonies (Asplin & Beighley, 2011). In dispositional hearings, it emerged that in Pennsylvania, there are various family, personal and community variables which must be taken into consideration to offer balanced placements. A standardized needs and risk assessment process is used in this state, which has always contributed to a balanced form of consideration (Asplin & Beighley, 2011). The state has also come up with measurable program outcomes, a reason why the juvenile system appears to be fulfilling its objectives.
Violent Juvenile Offenders: Rethinking Federal Intervention in Juvenile Justice
Yeckel believes that Juvenile delinquency has contributed to the highest number of juvenile crimes in the past ten years, more than ever before. This has attracted violent outburst, with most states passing stringent laws to deal with juveniles and ensure that they are held accountable. The author gave a background to the establishment of juvenile courts towards the end of the 19th century when most delinquent acts were defined by minor cases of misconduct (Yeckel, 1997). In recent times, however, juveniles have grown violent, and this poses a great danger to the society. Before the 1970's, it is evident that the federal government did not play any significant role in shaping justice policies for juveniles at the state level. A majority of the statutes passed by the Congress in a bid to facilitate the effective prosecution of juveniles worked for a very narrow jurisdiction, implying that there was only a small group of juveniles who could be prosecuted.
"Over the past decade, juveniles have accounted for a larger share of violent criminal activity than ever before. In response to the rise in violent juvenile crime, the public has demanded that violent juvenile offenders be held accountable for their actions" (Yeckel, 1997, P. 331).
Whereas the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act passed in 1938 was believed to bring along significant improvements, it must be recognized that this law gave the attorney general all the discretion to determine whether minor offenders could be tried under the juvenile justice system or be prosecuted as adults, with impending punishments of life imprisonment and even death.
Over time, the juvenile justice system has undergone a lot of policy changes, and a majority of the present-day court dispositions look similar to the sentences passed upon offenders in adult courts. One representative case is that of Kent v. the United States whereby it was ruled in 1966 that juveniles were constitutionally bound to due court processes, including adequate representation by a competent lawyer (Yeckel, 1997). As a result of the perceived increase in violent juvenile crimes, however, some states have shifted their focus, ensuring that their juvenile systems are not only geared towards rehabilitation but also punishment. A number of theoretical frameworks have been offered to justify this shift, with the most significant statement that punishment is the most appropriate charge which is likely to deter future crimes.
The Effectiveness of School-Based Intensive Probation for Reducing Recidivism: An Evaluation of Maryland's Spotlight on Schools Program
In Nadine Frederique's dissertation, it is clear that school-based probation programs have always provided the most intensive form of supervision for juvenile delinquents because there are probation officers stationed in schools. This notwithstanding, such programs are yet to undergo serious evaluation processes because previous attempts have been marred by methodological mistakes which contribute towards inconsistent findings (Frederique, 2011). The student focuses on Maryland, a state which established its school-based probation program in the 1990's. The program has been assessed formally in most schools, a reason why she goes ahead to device a quasi-experiment meant to reveal the rates of recidivism in the schools which have applied the program and those that are yet to.
"School Based Probation programs provide intensive supervision for juvenile probationers by placing probation officers in high schools. However, they have yet to undergo rigorous evaluation. Previous evaluations suffered from methodological flaws and have presented inconsistent findings" (Frederique, 2011, P. 1).
Like most researchers in the area of juvenile delinquency, Frederique believes that violent crimes among offenders have been on the rise and this has sparked a lot of rages, especially in the mainstream media. In an attempt to determine why most juveniles are involved in violent crimes, stakeholders have come in a number of theoretical frameworks. Social disorganization, subcultures of violence and strain are some of the theories that have been applied in this case, but none is conclusive enough.
In the case of Maryland, it all began as a pilot program in the early 1990's, whereby probation officers were gradually deployed to schools as opposed to their regional offices. The prog...
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