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Challenges Youth Face In The Criminal Justice System

Updated on June 14, 2013

Challenges Youth Face In The Criminal Justice System

“The historical response to the youth crimes and current strategies.” When covering the historical responses(s) to youth crimes, we must understand the significance and handling of the first arrest in which you make involving a youth/juvenile. Police don’t always handle an arrest according to its’ severity when it comes to a juvenile offender, they tend to get caught up in the media hype that a big arrest contains, which includes crimes of robbery or what are considered to be those of sensationalism, which are more important.

Juveniles often get away with misdemeanors (minor violations), because they are mundane, unimportant and don’t meet the standard deemed “the big arrest.” The fact is that if attention was given to the juvenile while they were committing crimes considered misdemeanor in nature, it would probably deter them from engaging in the bigger crimes such as robbery, murder etc., this is what is deemed effective when it comes to proper responses to juvenile crimes considered to be misdemeanor in nature.

Specific solutions and justification (rationale). When addressing this topic, we must first set up a process called “restorative justice,” it seeks to repair harm by the involving of the entire community when it comes to the rehabilitation of offenders that are held accountable for their behavior. When it comes to this proposed solution, rehabilitation cannot take place until an offender acknowledges the harm him/her caused to their victims as well as communities and be willing to make amends, that’s why these programs are voluntary in nature and are justified from a rationale perspective due to the requirements and full cooperation of the offenders to admit to his/her wrongdoing.

The second challenge facing the criminal justice system that I chose is “Community Safety.” Historically, community safety has been crucial and essential. It was once highly regarded, we always had each others’ back on the block, whether you lived in a white neighborhood, black neighborhood or any other minority filled neighborhood, for that matter.

Officers are often bound by a duty and obligation to speak out concerning issues that affect public safety in their community as well as their profession, that doesn’t necessarily take place as much in this current day, age and climate. But that doesn’t mean we should give up on officers because a few choose to go astray as far as their civic and community obligations are concerned. Analysis concerning community service should be based upon our ability to encourage, develop, volunteer and promote community service by building upon our talents, strengths and opportunities that are presented to us, especially when it comes down to enhancing our quality of life and promoting interaction amongst those who reside in mine as well as your community.

The impact of community safety in regards to the criminal justice system and the rest of society. From a community safety standpoint in regards to the impact of the criminal justice system. The first thing that may come to peoples’ mind is the three strike rule, rationale (reasoning) behind this particular rule is to keep repeat offenders from terrorizing the communities they reside in, so to speak.

Because they are repeat offenders, they are often the most difficult for state and local criminal justice systems to control. They are known to not respond much to incarceration that’s designed as a means of behavioral modification. Unfortunately, this is not a deterrant factor for them, serving time in prison and all.

Some of them are happy to go to jail or prison in a way, because a lot of their family/friends reside there, in some cases. “Proposition 184” is responsible for promoting the “The Three Strike Rule/Law,” a law designed to impose longer prison sentences for certain repeat offenders, it is effective if enforced properly, from what I’ve seen in Detroit, Michigan it has not been effective as it should be, especially with the shortage of police officers and citizens who really care about what goes on in their particular community.

The historical response to the community safety and current strategies. As part of a continuing effort to assist in developing strategies responsible for reducing crime in various communities, The Department of Justice (DOJ) introduced the Community Safety Initiative (SACSI), this was an approach brought into play and collaboratively designed for data-driven problem solving.

The effectiveness of data-driven problem solving in regards to community safety emphasizes partnerships with the community, underscoring the belief that the process of policing can effectively make our neighborhoods safer. With this being said, supervised populations tend to pose challenges significant in nature for police and community supervision agencies alike, but partnerships between these two can and will improve public safety, and aid in the prevention of crime.

Specific solutions and justification (rationale) concerning community safety. If we don’t have an understanding of why crime takes place, it would be difficult for us to come up with a proper solution. Crime in simple terms is viewed as a specific behavior which needs attention to be allotted to it in the form of a punishment being assessed and all, hopefully resulting in a deterrence.

People normally commit a crime or crimes based on what goes on around them societal wise. When we are raised in a society that’s known for producing more in regards to consumable goods. We tend to want more and sometimes go to any means to get it, even if we have to commit a crime. I believe crime reduction begins at home, beginning with community policing. Taken seriously, it can and will offer an approach in the reduction of crime.

The third challenge facing the criminal justice system that I chose is “Sexual Offenders.” Historically, sexual offenders in the criminal justice system never had to face the possibility of serving additional time or being held in a mental facility after serving their initial sentences for crimes they committed sexual wise to their victims.

A case that took place about 37 years ago involving “Martin Andrews” who was 13 years old when he was abducted by a sexual predator name “Richard Ausley”, who was convicted multiple times prior to this incident for sexually assaulting young boys. This ultimately lead to sexual predators who were one time offenders being forced to serve more than one sentence, this is after completely their initial sentence(s).

In regards to sexual offenders (analysis), the victim and offender are likely to have had a prior relationship as family members, intimates, or acquaintances. In about 3 out of 4 incidents, it was proven or reported that victims of rape and sexual assaults knew the offender. When data was recorded by the police, it was determined that 90% of rapes actually involved children younger than 12 years of age, and in these cases, the offender was known by the victim (child).

The majority of violent sex offenders consisted of males who were responsible for assaulting female victims, while only a small percentage of females actually participated in the role of offender(s).

The impact of the sexual offenders on the criminal justice system and the rest of society is that of significance. It is or speculated that less than 5% of these offenders are ever caught and apprehended. That means that they fly under the radar quite a bit. So when it comes to the protection of our kids or kids as a whole, we must be willing to work together, report suspicious behavior including those lurking around playgrounds while kids are playing.

Deterrence can take place when we make our presence known and pay close attention to detail. Low levels of prosecutions involving sexual offenders are directly attributed to the fact that their sexual crimes/abuse often goes unreported, remains hidden. It is very imperative that we send a message to sexual offenders, take command of all our neighborhoods, be vigilant and stop burying our heads in the sand except for when it directly affects us.

It’s often difficult to talk about facts concerning criminal behavior simply because there’s so much misinformation given. Re-entry into the public for sexual offenders. This includes supervision which helps decrease recidivism, which involves keeping an eye on the ex-offender, helping them find jobs, get drug treatment along with finding a suitable place to reside.

These are very important factors in helping the offenders stay crime free. Finding housing is probably the most challenging out of all of these, they face many legal obstacles, because of the bridges they were responsible for burning in society and unfortunately for them this includes exclusion/rejection from their own family. According to statistics, sex offenders as a group have the lowest re-offending rate, a rate that’s lower than those accused of committing other criminal acts. Even though most people are prone to believe that they would be the most likely to re-offend.

When it comes to the effectiveness of sexual offenders, we have to ask ourselves, how good is the treatment they receive and how effective is it when it comes to reducing recidivism? There’s no credible evidence that would makes us believe that treatment designed for sex offenders doesn’t work. Making a determination as to whether sex offender treatment works or doesn’t can be problematic, because of the difficulties and expenses surrounding the conducting of a definitive study.

The most logical and straight-forward way to do that would be to assign offenders randomly to either the treated or untreated condition. However, ethical and legal issues arise when a researcher considers randomly assigning sex offenders to either treatment or no-treatment control group. Is it morally defensible to leave one group untreated?

New victims of the un-treated group could file lawsuits, claiming it had been negligent not to treat those untreated offenders. Therefore, few organizations funding treatment for sex offenders are prepared to deliberately withhold treatment from any offenders for fear of the public outcry that likely will follow a re-offense among the un-treated.

Specific solutions and justification (rationale) concerning “Sexual Offenders.” Some say, past behavior is a true or best predictor of future behavior. With this being said, traditional crime prevention efforts are placed in various communities to help non-criminals from becoming criminals, so to speak. Intervention methods for reducing crime through the courts and corrections can be classified in six categories:

1) Incapacitation

2) Deterrence

3) Rehabilitation

4) Community Restraints

5) Structure, Discipline and Challenge

6) Combining Rehabilitation and Restraint

These categories represent different strategies set in place for controlling crime in the community. In closing, every challenge in relation to the criminal justice system serves its’ purpose in one way or another whether it’s from an analytical standpoint or that of a historical one when it comes to solving problems or the justification thereof.

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    • maramerce profile image

      maramerce 4 years ago from United States

      I love this article! I am so, so passionate about this cause having not only grown up watching many of my peers throw their futures away through drug-related offenses, but also having personally seen how it affected my own family when my younger brother became addicted to drugs at the age of 14.

      Nobody did anything to him or for him when he was a juvenile. I begged my parents to put him in some drug rehab facility while they had the parental authority. I hoped and prayed he would get caught as a kid so he could be given the help he needed. But do you know what happened instead? The law enforcement looked the other way when he was 16, KNOWING he was a juvenile. They followed him when he was involved in all these activities and waited until he turned 17, the legal age in his state to be tried as an adult, then arrested him for a felony possession of narcotics. He was sentenced to mandatory jail time of 18 months. The judge did give him a chance to go on deferred adjudication probation which gave him a "chance" to clean his act up, but they didn't give him any resources to do it. He was so addicted to the drugs at that point that he barely could function. He was so far gone that he ended up on an ankle monitor living IN a known drug den. They revoked his probation and just by the grace of God was allowed to serve his 18 months in county instead of state jail even though it was a state jail felony. He had a friend who wasn't so lucky that went to state jail for the same felony and that boy was basically beaten or raped every other day.

      THESE ARE KIDS. These are KIDS WITH DRUG ADDICTIONS. And most of the time if you hear their stories, they didn't have a fighting chance. My father was an alcoholic. We were surrounded by addicts. I used to work for a mentoring agency and doing the research I learned that 70 percent of all kids who end up in jail or prison had a parent who was also in jail or prison. That's a STAGGERING rate. Also, when my brother did get out of jail finally, he couldn't even find a job because he had a felony on his record, no work experience, and had dropped out of school. What does a kid like that do? Well, if he doesn't have the luxury of having a sister who cares about him, he ends up back in jail...again and again and again and again. And then they get the kind of education in jail that we don't want them to get. Essentially, we are making career criminals out of them by not giving them the right resources and options to change their lives and correct their course.

      I really applaud your compassion in this article. There aren't enough people like you in this world who care about what's happening to these kids. It breaks my heart to think about all that potential just wasted.

    • andrelynch1 profile image
      Author

      andrelynch1 4 years ago

      Thanks vkwok, I am still learning, hope I continue to put out material that will be interesting, informative, enjoyable and helpful to all who reads it, thanks again!!

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 4 years ago from Hawaii

      This was an amazing and well informing hub.