Running head: Juvenile Reentry
Making an Effective Transition
PSF 5372 – History of the Juvenile Criminal Justice System
This paper explores the transformation of the Juvenile Justice System over the past century and how it impacts today’s youth. Juvenile delinquency has become a well-known phenomenon as youth have taken experimentation and violence to a new level. More adolescents are being diagnosed with medical disorders while many find themselves not having the means to access the proper treatment. Family and moral standards are not as they were a century ago and the economic strain of today can ...view middle of the document...
Instead of focusing on punishments for their offenses, the juvenile courts would attempt to turn young delinquents into productive adults by focusing on rehabilitation of the offenders.
The Commonwealth v. Fisher (1905) case during the Progressive Era delivers the state’s position to look after the well-being of children with, “the belief that juvenile offenders should be protected and re-educated” (Beijerse and van Swaaningen, 2006). Today adolescents spend their time in juvenile justice detention facilities before returning back to the community, just as the delinquents were held in places as “The Refuge House” until they turn of legal age. Upon turning of age, many juveniles are released back to their community so they can be productive citizens, but many may not have the life skills needed to succeed.
Upon leaving the juvenile justice system, many juveniles are faced with the same problems they encountered before they entered the system such as substance abuse, violence, peer pressure, family issues, etc. This can be a very stressful time, especially since many juveniles come from poverty stricken environments. Poverty is more than just lack of money, work, or motivation; it is filled with struggle against harsh conditions, structural impediments, and limited opportunities as well as the continuation and evolution of cultural traditions. In the face of these conditions the emergence of new sub-cultural norms from trans-generational social history. (Dunlap, Golub, Johnson, 2006). It has also been associated with “overcrowded housing, poor physical and mental health, despair, post-traumatic stress disorder, family dissolution, teen pregnancy, school dropout, interpersonal violence, crime, and drug and alcohol abuse,” (Dunlap, et al., 2006).
Returning back to this type of environment could prove to be unhealthy for them as these juveniles may not have the necessary cognitive, social, and emotional skills to resist the temptations of negative influences. “Many incarcerated juveniles return to their communities with serious risk and need areas unaddressed, complicating their chances for successful reentry” (Bouffard & Bergseth, 2008). “Aftercare service for juveniles first appeared in the United States in the early nineteenth century, but it has become an integral part of correctional rehabilitation for the young offender,” (Juvenile Aftercare, 1967).
Juvenile’s aftercare services are critical, especially when physical and mental issues are present. According to Barr (2003), the Brad H. v. City of New York (1999), compliant described a system in which at least 25,000 jail inmates per year received psychiatric care in jail, yet virtually none received discharge planning on release. Many released inmates do not have the proper discharging plan to return back to the community, such as medications and the necessary resources to get this medicine once released. This may result to relapse, acting in a bizarre manner, auditory and visual...