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There is a wide choice of correctional treatments available for juveniles, which can be subdivided into two major categories, which are community treatment and institutional treatment. Community treatment refers to efforts to provide care, protection, and treatment for juveniles in need.
Institutional treatment facilities are correctional centers operated by federal, state, and county governments. These facilities restrict the movement of residents through staff monitoring, locked exits, and interior fence control.
Community corrections have traditionally emphasized offender rehabilitation. Community treatment includes probation, intensive supervision, house arrest, and balanced probation. Probation includes regular supervision by a probation officer. The juvenile must adhere to conditions such as attend school or work and stay out of trouble.
Intensive supervision involves treating offenders who would normally have been sent to a secure treatment facility as part of a very small probation caseload that receives almost daily scrutiny. The juvenile must adhere to the same conditions as those placed on regular probation.
House arrest, which is often coupled with electronic monitoring, allows offenders sentenced to probation to remain in the community on condition that they stay at home during specific periods. Offenders may be monitored through random phone calls, visits, or electronic devices. Balanced probation systems integrate community protection, the accountability of the juvenile offender, and individualized attention to the offender.
These programs are based on the view that juveniles are responsible for their actions and have an obligation to society whenever they commit an offense.
Under balanced probation restrictions are tailored to the risk the juvenile offender presents to the community. The purpose of these treatment efforts is to provide rehabilitation to juvenile offenders and ensure public safety, all at the same time. These programs are important because not all juvenile offenders need to be placed into institutions for rehabilitation, some can be effectively rehabilitated outside of institutions, and become productive members of society (Wadsworth, 2005).
Correctional institutions operated by federal, state, and county governments are generally classified as secure or open facilities. Secure facilities restrict the movement of residents through staff monitoring, locked exits, and interior fence controls. Open institutions generally do not restrict the movement of the residents and allow much greater freedom of access to the facility. Males make up the great bulk on institutionalized youth. They are more likely to form allegiances with members of their own racial group and attempt to exploit those outside the group.
They also scheme to manipulate staff and take advantage of weaker peers. The juvenile justice system should be concerned with this issue because this is primarily how gangs are developed, and could become a serious issue within juvenile facilities. The growing involvement of girls in criminal behavior and the influence of feminist movement have drawn more attention to the female juvenile offender. Institutions for girls are generally more restrictive than those for boys, and they have fewer educational and vocational programs and fewer services.
The juvenile justice system should also be concerned with this issue because it is a double standard. Most female delinquents are in for status offenses, compared to male delinquents who are in for violent crimes, but yet the males have fewer restrictions than the females. It is also unfair to the female inmates to not be able to receive that same educational and vocational training. Female delinquents need to be rehabilitated just as well as the males (Wadsworth, 2005). Aftercare in the juvenile justice system is the equivalent of parole in the adult criminal justice system.
When juveniles are released from an institution, they may be placed in an aftercare program of some kind, so that those who have been institutionalized are not simply returned to the community without some transitional assistance. The Intensive Aftercare Program model developed by David Altshuler and Troy Armstrong offers a continuum of intervention for serious juvenile offenders returning to the community following placement. Colorado is one state who has implemented the IAP Model. In their program community based providers begin weekly services while the adolescents are still institutionalized, and continue during aftercare.
Sixty days prior to release, IAP youth begin a series of step down measures, including supervised trips to the community, and thirty days before release, there are overnight or weekend home passes. Upon release to parole, most program youths go through several months of day treatment that, in addition to services, provides a high level of structure during the day. Trackers provide evening and weekend monitoring during this period of reentry. The planned frequency of contact is once a week during the first few months of supervision, with gradual reductions to once a month in later stages of supervision.
Virginia has also implemented the IAP Model. Virginia’s central feature is the use of group home placements as a bridge between the institution and the community. Immediately after release from the institution, youths enter one of two group homes for a thirty to sixty day period. Virginia uses a formal step down system to ease the intensity of parole supervision gradually. In the two months following the youth’s release from the group home, staff is required to contact them five to seven times per week.
This is reduced to three to five times per week during the next two months, and again to three times per week during the final thirty days. Aftercare programs are important for several reasons. First, they prepare youth for progressively increased responsibility and freedom in the community. Second, they facilitate youth-community interaction and involvement. Finally, they work with both the offender and targeted community support systems on qualities needed for constructive interaction and the youths’ successful community adjustment (Wadsworth, 2005).
There are several aspects of the juvenile justice system, and they are all important. The goals of these programs are to rehabilitate the youth, and I believe they can be effective. If implemented properly, combining institutionalization, community based treatment, and aftercare, a juvenile can become rehabilitated. However, one cannot be implemented without the other, because then the youth may not have a successful reentry into the community.
Bibliography Wadsworth. (2005). Juvenile Corrections: Probation, Community Treatment, and Institutionalization. In Juvenile Delinquency: The Core (pp. 244-265). Thomson Learning Inc.