While the juvenile justice system
was originally created to be a social welfare agency to aid youth and their
families through increasing availability of services, the practices do not
always align with the ideals. For some, the juvenile system does act as an
early intervention to prevent life persistent offending, but for others, the
experience has left them survivors of abuse and struggling to navigate a world
with more obstacles than before. As a result, some aspects of the system have
been deemed to be lacking. This paper identifies those aspects as well as
proposes ways to improve upon these deficits.


What needs to be fixed?CAE2 

            The major, overarching aspects of
the juvenile system that are lacking are prevention of youthful offending and
decreasing interaction with the system. While the juvenile system offers
services to families and youth in need, they only receive access to these
services after the child has offended and been referred to the juvenile system.
If the services were available prior to the child offending, it may have been
prevented. In addition, the juvenile system is designed to maintain privacy of
those involved but through notification of schools or other agencies, it is
possible for the child to experience labeling theory and an increased amount of
other obstacles that were not present before interaction.



            The juvenile system was originally
designed to aid families in



            Following the above mentioned
proposal to invest more in preventative measures would result in juveniles
interacting with the juvenile justice system less due to lower rates of
offending, but there should be a push to decrease interaction between the
juvenile system and the juveniles that still are referred to the system.

            The juvenile system is based on the
ideas that juveniles should remain separate from adults, should not have
proceedings publicized and should not be labeled as a criminal due to the
negative effects those actions can have. The juvenile system is more private
than the adult system in regards that juveniles have their records sealed after
proceedings and due to there not being an uniformed identification system in
New York at least, juveniles can receive different ID numbers each time they
offend depending on the location of their offense. These measures ensure that
juveniles do not have a record following them throughout life and cannot
experience the negative effects that result from being labeled delinquent or
criminal. They also ensure that longitudinal studies of juvenile offending are
more complicated to track and prevent the public from being involved in
juvenile cases.

            While these measures do aim to
protect the juveniles who interact with the system, they are not always
foolproof. One example is that juveniles can still experience the negative
effects of labeling. Labeling theory is the concept that when a person commits
a deviant or criminal act, while it was act that was labeled deviant or
criminal, he or she is also labeled as a deviant or criminal person (Skaggs,
2016). The labeling of the behavior is used to also define the person, and
because society turns away from deviant or criminal acts, society turns away
from that person. The juvenile system does not publicize the proceedings, but
some outside agencies, such as schools, are notified when one of their students
becomes involved with the system. While this is intended for the school to
increase resources to the student, such as a meeting with the school counselor
or being offered added help if truancy is an issue, the reaction of those at
the school can be detrimental to the juvenile. If they are removed from the
classroom as a result of their behavior, the other children will notice and
react to their absence. Children may not want to be friends or spend time with
someone who has gotten in trouble. If the children do not shy away from the
juvenile because of his or her behavior, they may be told not to spend time
with the juvenile by their parents who may have heard about the juvenile’s
delinquent acts. In addition, the teachers and staff members may react
differently to a kid labeled as a “trouble-maker” or “delinquent.” Instead of
putting in more effort to understand the reason why the child is acting the way
he or she is, the child’s behavior could be dismissed as being just the child’s
personality. While the juvenile is most vulnerable and in need to outside
assistance, the label of “delinquent” could result in less access to those needs.
Relationships and dynamics within the family of the juvenile could also be
strained or changed due to the interaction with the system. While in some
cases, the family dynamics could exacerbate the effects of the label, Jackson
& Hay (2013) found that warm, supportive parents can reduce the likelihood
that their children will reoffend.

            When a child experiences decreased
interaction with prosocial peers and adults, there can be an increase in
antisocial behavior or crime. Children that do not feel as if the teachers
care, may become truant. Children that are denied friendship with the “good”
kids may turn to spending time with other children labeled delinquent. The
labeling of a child as delinquent or a “trouble-maker” sets in action a
deterioration of bonds not only with teachers and peers, but also with the
community. Social bond theory states that if bonds are strong, then an individual
is more likely to conform to societal norms and are less likely to offend (Cullen,
Agnew, & Wilcox, 2014, p. 212-250). If the juvenile is experiencing an
ousting from conventional peers, adult role models, institutions such as
school, and are no longer able to participate in conventional activities, it is
theorized that the juvenile would continue to offend. Differential association
and social learning theories explain that when the child is ousted from the
conventional community, the child will spend time with others who are criminal
or deviant and learn how to act from those non-conventional peers and adults.
This all would further exacerbate the pushes on the juvenile to continue

            Theory proposes that the more a
juvenile interacts with the justice system, the more negative effects he or she
experiences and the higher the chance of reoffending. This theory is supported
by facts. A study conducted by Liberman, Kirk, and Kim (2014) found that a
first arrest increased both the likelihood of subsequent offending and arrest
following the labeling theory. Also, they found that being arrested did not
increase offending, but increased law enforcement responses in comparison to
youth who were offending at the same level but have evaded a first arrest.

            Most juveniles that commit minor
offenses do not interact with the system, but instead are diverted to other
agencies or officers let the youth go with a warning. One proposal to remedy
the interaction between the system and juveniles that are involved is
restorative justice programs. Restorative justice programs operate under the
assumption that crimes are an injury to the community and that it is beneficial
for the person who committed that injury must repair the community (“Guide for
implementing…,” n.d.). Generally, there is a restorative justice board that
consists of various people from the community who have been prepared with
intensive training. This board considers what the community constitutes as a
harm against them and when an individual commits one of these harms, they will
have a hearing. This hearing will involve the offender retelling what happened,
accepting responsibility for the harm caused, and creating a plan that would repair
the community. There can be many different avenues that the board recommends
the offender to do to repair their relationship with the community. These can
include, but are not limited to: victim-offender mediation, conferencing,
family group conferencing or decision making, restorative cautioning, and
restorative dialogue (“What is restorative justice?, 2012).

            Restorative justice programs have
shown the ability to achieve increased community and victim involvement, improved
offender compliance, increased perceptions of fairness, greater satisfaction
with case outcomes, and reduced recidivism (Bergseth & Bouffard, 2013). In
the study conducted by Bergseth and Bouffard (2013), they found that not only
was their hypothesis that restorative justice programs were beneficial in
reducing recidivism rates for offenders in the program compared to offenders
who were referred to traditional juvenile court regardless of age, gender,
racial group membership, prior offending history, or whether it was a property
or violent referring offense, but the only group that experienced a slightly
smaller reduction in recidivism was those referred to with “other” offenses (p.
1071). They found on average that youth referred to the program did not
reoffend an average of 10.5 months longer than those referred to traditional
court. There were similar results in the studies conducted by Rodriguez (2007),
Bradshaw & Roseborough (2005), De Beus & Rodriguez (2007), and Bergseth
& Bouffard (2007).



            Interaction with the juvenile
justice system can have beneficial or detrimental effects on youth. When the
system is able to perform and follow its intended ideals, juveniles are given
the resources needed to desist in future offending, but when the system is
unable to do so, the effects of interacting with the system could be worse than
if the juvenile was never involved in the first place. Moving forward, it is
essential to correct the areas the system is most lacking. As stated before,
doing so can not only help prevent initial offending, but decrease reoffending
and save money spent on punitive endeavors.

 CAE1Revised and Good!

 CAE2Intro Paragraph Revised and Good!

 CAE3Revised and Good until the theory supported by facts paragraph

 CAE4Revised and Good!


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