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Juvenile corrections pp week 16

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  • 1. CHAPTER EIGHTEENChallenges and Opportunities in Juvenile Corrections
  • 2. The Future of Juvenile Corrections: A Growing Focus on Rehabilitation• There has been a softening of punitive feelings toward juvenile offenders and taxpayers have expressed an interest in paying higher taxes to ensure that juveniles receive treatment and rehabilitation rather than punishment• This increasing interest in restorative justice may represent a transition to a kinder and gentler juvenile justice system• There is a growing consensus that youth should be treated in the least restrictive environment consistent with public safety• One emerging type of sentence is the blended juvenile/adult sentence – attempts to blend the rehabilitation of the juvenile justice system with the threat of adult sanctions if the youth continues to break the law
  • 3. Developing New Models of Institutional Management• Many jurisdictions try to regulate behavior by rewarding positive, desirable behavior through offering additional privileges such as later bedtimes or being able to spend more money at the commissary each week• Self-governance approaches, such as positive peer culture and guided group interaction, use the positive influence of the youth in small group settings• They attend frequent group meetings – supervised by staff members – where the residents solve problems on the unit and sometimes impose sanctions on group members• This approach helps to develop a youth’s problem-solving and communication skills
  • 4. Juvenile Assessment and Intervention System• An approach to youth treatment based on an automated comprehensive risk assessment that is combined with case planning and also includes a set of strategies that best respond to the needs of four distinct groups of juveniles Selective Intervention (SI)• Juveniles tend to be positive, prosocial and lack significant behavioral problems• There may be a rapid decline in school attendance and achievement and a marked shift in peer group from prosocial to delinquent• Delinquent behavior in this group is in response to an external stressor or to an internal, neurotic need Environmental Structure (ES)• Characterized by a lack of social and survival skills and poor impulse control• Have difficulty understanding the others’ motives and are often used and exploited• Often experience social isolation and are eager to please and want to be liked• They are susceptible to be positive and negative influences
  • 5. Juvenile Assessment and Intervention System Casework Control• Characterized by general instability and chronic adjustment problems• Home situations are likely to be chaotic, including residential (frequent family relocation or multiple foster placements) and emotional instability, chemical abuse, and inconsistent or exaggerated attempts at discipline by the parents, as abuse is frequently noted• These problems often result in hostility toward others Limit Setting (LS)• Motivated by power, money and excitement; engage in delinquency for thrills• They find their role models among criminals and other delinquents whom they perceive as successful, powerful or glamorous and often seek out association with these individuals• They see no real need to change their values or behaviors except to avoid getting caught
  • 6. Utilizing Evidence-Based Practices• Implementing any type of intervention in juvenile corrections is costly because staff must be trained in the new ways of working with juveniles• Most facilities are reluctant to implement new programs unless research can demonstrate that the new approach is substantially better than existing methods of working with youth• Some interventions such as Scared Straight programs are fads that are not effective at reducing crime• Sound evidence-based research uses all of the studies that have been published on a topic• Cost-benefit analysis is used in recidivism research and it compares the cost of the intervention against the economic benefits
  • 7. A Growing Focus on Reentry and Aftercare• Community reentry is often difficult because juveniles go back to the same neighborhoods and schools, dysfunctional family relationships, neighborhood gangs, and negative peers• Sometime, the youth’s experiences while incarcerated make it more difficult to successfully return to the community• Some youth spend so much time living in correctional environments that they do not develop the skills to make independent decisions for themselves and their interpersonal skills decrease (called institutionalization)• The longer youth are held in these facilities, the greater their need for services• Aftercare programs provide resources and support for the youth while they are in the community• Preparing residents for their return to the community is critically important in reducing recidivism
  • 8. Reducing Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC)• Populations in juvenile facilities generally have higher rates of black residents• Reasons for this overrepresentation include a disproportionate involvement in crime, biased or discriminatory practices of the criminal and juvenile justice systems and poverty• Strategies that might reduce DMC: • Comprehensive review of data and the identification of where juvenile justice decision-making occurs • Increasing the cultural competence of juvenile justice system decision- makers • Developing community-based detention alternatives • Removing decision-making subjectivity • Reducing barriers to family involvement in juvenile justice • Legislating system-level change to reform juvenile justice systems• There is no single solution to the problem of DMC
  • 9. Acknowledging the Special Needs of Girls in the Juvenile Justice System• Recently, there has been development of gender responsive programs and strategies that are structured differently than programs for males• These programs emphasize gender and cultural sensitivity and provide interventions that acknowledge the physical, sexual and emotional abuse and trauma experienced by most girls in juvenile justice systems and also responsive to the different health needs of young women• Common themes in correctional programs that are successful in reducing girls’ delinquency: • Building skills in order to succeed in life, including: leadership and life skills, self esteem enhancement, empowerment, mental health services, recreation and education • Building successful relationships, including: family involvement and increasing communication and relationship building skills • Attaching these girls to prosocial or supportive community networks
  • 10. A Growing Focus on Health Care and Health Promotion• A youth’s placement incarceration may be the first time that they actually received regular medical or dental care• To comply with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), residential placements are required to meet the educational needs of youth that have learning difficulties• Historically, the focus on health care in corrections has been diagnosing and treating existing conditions• What needs to be focused on is health promotion (which many juveniles neglect)– activities include classroom instruction in reducing the risk of contracting a communicable disease through unsafe sex or intravenous drug use, diet, exercise and preventative dental care• Foods in some facilities are typically high in fat and starch• Residents found to be overweight or obese increased from 38% to 66% in three months, attributed by overeating, inactivity and the side effects of taking psychotropic medications• If we cannot promote healthy lifestyles inside these facilities, it is unlikely that these youth will have better habits once they return to the community
  • 11. Staff Recruiting, Retention and Development• It is increasingly difficult to recruit and retain staff members with high levels of honesty, integrity, and who have the interpersonal skills to work with juvenile populations• They have to work unsocial shifts (holidays and nights) and must interact with youth in crisis who can sometimes be rude, challenging and aggressive• The salary and benefits for juvenile correctional officers are similar to officers employed at adult facilities, but the expectations of juvenile correctional officers tend to be higher so they are responsible for doing more duties for similar pay• Hiring and training a new staff members is costly and many quit or are terminated within the first year• One significant goal is to recruit and retain minority officers• It is difficult to recruit and retain physicians, nurses, teachers and psychologists to work in juvenile correctional settings• Staff training and development is a key factor in reducing misconduct, increasing the effectiveness of the rehabilitative programs, and ensuring that all staff members are aware of the organization’s mission and values
  • 12. Delinquency Prevention• Delinquency can be prevented by identifying risk factors in individuals, families, schools and communities and reducing these risks before youth engage in delinquency• Home visits by nurses to at-risk families, classes with weekly home visits by preschool teachers and family therapy for delinquent and at- risk preadolescents are all effective at reducing delinquency• Preschool intellectual enrichment and child skills training are effective in preventing delinquency and later criminal offending• These interventions led to fewer arrest, less illegitimate children, lower levels of substance abuse and an increase in higher status jobs• Dysfunctional families, poorly functioning schools, neighborhoods with high levels of unemployment, female headed households, gang involvement and poverty are all highly associate with delinquency• General parent education and parent management are effective in preventing delinquency or later criminal offending• Delinquency can also occur at the school, neighborhood and community levels with programs such as school and discipline management and classroom or instructional management
  • 13. Juvenile Corrections: A Case for Cautious Optimism• The operations of juvenile correctional facilities are inextricably linked with attitudes toward juvenile crime and offenders• During times when feeling toward juveniles are positive and rehabilitative, legislators may be able to allocate more funding for educational and health programs for youth in juvenile corrections or provide training for staff working within juvenile justice systems• Juvenile justice leaders should strive, whenever possible, to develop stronger working partnerships with other government and non-profit agencies• The impact of basing interventions on evidence-based research has become a driving force in juvenile corrections, making it easy to be optimistic about the future of juvenile corrections• Youth held in residential placements today are apt to be treated more humanely and with more respect than in previous eras• This point in time represents the best hope for implementing broad-based delinquency prevention programs• The directions that juvenile corrections take will be shaped by external forces: public opinion, legislative priorities and litigation