Sample Final Project: Research Paper – Juvenile Delinquency Prevention and Treatment
Compare and contrast juvenile delinquency prevention and treatment.
There exist different approaches concerning the judicial response to juvenile delinquency. Research points out that the initial appearance of the youth in court has the tendency to amplify the delinquent activities, aggressive behaviour together with the hostile attitudes aimed at the police. In order to diminish the recurrence of these antisocial behaviours, two major approaches have always been implemented. These are juvenile delinquency prevention programs and juvenile delinquency treatment programs. The former aims at averting deviant behavior from recurring through creating alternative means of developing positive behaviour whilst the latter aims at rehabilitating juvenile delinquents.
Prevention by definition is the defensive reaction to an occurrence that is likely or is expected to come about. The phrase delinquency prevention connotes that some deterrent action is taken to put a halt on the possibility of certain disruptive behaviour from happening. As revealed by statistical data, it is forecasted that particular conducts will transpire or recur in a specific division of the youth populace. Usually, programs are formulated to be executed in schools as well as community organisations with the intention of getting the attention of such young individuals in order to avert them from any activities that could lead them into the other side of the law. The most important aspects of delinquency prevention programs seem to be an authentic concern for the partakers together with the growing of skills by training courtesy of activities like employment programs, social relationships as well as leisure pursuits.
There are two levels of the delinquency prevention programs; one is referred to as the primary prevention whilst the other is referred to as secondary prevention. The former program aims at diverting youth prone to committing crime prior to their taking part in delinquent acts. On the other hand, the latter program focus on averting adjudicated antisocial undesirable behaviour from recurring.
The two programs endeavour to bring changes in antisocial behaviour via individual control strategies as opposed to social development strategies. Critics have objected this approach by pointing out that in as much as individual control strategies possess a considerable number of positive effects in the short term, they lack any impact for the long haul. To achieve a long lasting impact, individual control programs have been associated to mainstream community life. A lot of government departments however, prefer individual control programs not only because the partakers are an identifiable group but also due to the fact that the service can be given by one sponsoring institution with conceivably very little coordination with other bureaus. Moreover, the service can be gotten across well and frequently there has been proof that the antisocial behaviours have been dealt with and are in the process of getting diminished.
The aim of the prevention programs is to reduce delinquency as well as youth violence. In order to achieve this, the programs are designed to support local efforts which develop skills and generate a healthy, nurturing environment that lead to the formation of responsible citizens. This is achieved courtesy of the Prevention Policy Boards or PPBs created in every community to mobilise, support and advocate for delinquency prevention efforts. There is also synchronization of various resources that up hold a continuum of services that focuses on the clients for the youths who have already broken the law or have great potential of breaking the law together with their families. The programs also give room for modifications when the need arises (Empey, 2011).
As a result of these objectives, youth centres have been established in many communities that offer an assembly place for at-risk individuals in a controlled as well as structured environment. The facilities give recreational together with tutorial services to young individuals. Youth centres also run programs that offer crisis intervention to relations of the juveniles taking part in the program who portray aggressive behaviour. Most of these centres also have a community policy officer skilled in recognising external symptoms of troubled juveniles. The officer serves as a link to the social service programs and manages the participation of the youth.
Other areas have created community service programs along with informational, educational and entertaining components. Juveniles get a small compensation for their community service tasks and are required to partake in meetings that spot risk factors and proffer intervention skills. The most significant aspect contained in this program is constant school enrolment as a prerequisite of program participation. There are also home-based delinquency prevention programs which are established to discourage out-of-home placement of juvenile delinquents. The programs target young individuals with antisocial behaviours brought by the dysfunctional nature of their family. The intervention is through averting the troubled youths from family court intakes into the suitable family intervention as well as counselling. Other prevention programs focus on enhancing the youths’ school performance in order to avert school drop-outs while others aim at decreasing the number of young people that recidivate to the detention hub (Lipton, 2008).
Nonetheless, recidivism studies show that these prevention programs do not produce a long-term impact of considerable proportion in most of the participants. In addition to this, their also exists evidence that indicate primary prevention programs sometimes incorporate youths who could just have done well exclusive of the preventive programs while other studies have indicated that the behaviour of some participants’ deteriorated, possibly due to partaking in the program.
In spite of this restrictions experienced in the control programs; they still get funding although they would be more impactful if the financial support was tied to a statement of anticipated outcomes that last for a long time. The program should illustrate how the program is linked with the conservative youth activities and must make way for their conventional status as well as power in society. In contrast, the challenge would be to try a different approach which is more complex and difficult that aims toward social development. This entails movement in the direction of equal participation of all affiliates of the community. In a capitalist democracy such as is the characteristic of many countries, this will entail getting rid of poverty along with the formation of an economy with full employment capabilities. This is because eradicating poverty liberates people from the continuous burden brought by the anxiety of being able to get food, shelter, clothing as well as an over reliance on donations from others. Thus, a full economy gives people the capability to achieve a financial independent status and get some sense of personal fulfilment. Whereas poverty elimination and the development of a complete employment economy entail a lot of structural alterations and are costly, these considerations need to be weighed alongside the price of operating delinquency preventive control programs with little success (Alder, 2005).
Juvenile delinquency treatment on the other hand, consists of programs whose intent is to rehabilitate adolescents with criminal behaviour through psychotherapeutic means. The function of medicine in this kind of treatment is however limited. Mostly treatment is administered in the form of therapy sessions. There exists conflicting proof on the direction to which the treatment aim should at that is, if it must aim at the troubled adolescent or the family, the organisation or the therapist (Dishion et al., 2010).
Although many associate the success of juvenile delinquency treatments with extremely anxious and introverted adolescents that are sentient to their problems and are looking for assistance, the past couple of years have recorded an increase in the utilisation of treatment programs that have been administered with the intention of reducing antisocial and aggressive behaviour. Juvenile delinquency treatment programs involve the immediate relations of the troubled adolescent with the intent of administering healing. These include the guardians, peers as well as teachers. The aim of involving other people is because their daily interaction with the young adult directly or indirectly affects his or her behaviour. Furthermore, this enables the therapist to identify where exactly the problem lies in order to administer treatment.
One of the techniques applied is the behaviourally oriented parent training program. Here, parents are aided to utilise positive non-coercive means of control in order to enforce positive interaction within the family unit, to examine the behaviour of their adolescents as well as deal more determinedly with antisocial behaviour. This also allows parents to discuss behavioural contracts together with their children as well as build up an enhanced social problem solving skills. In as much as the program is effective, studies have indicated that this form of treatment program is only useful to youths with detrimental behaviour and find it unnecessary to administer it to those who commit less offense (Burns & Stangl, 2007).
Another treatment program is the multisystemic therapy which utilises a blend of empirically founded treatments such as cognitive behaviour therapy, behavioural guardian training along with functional family therapy. In this form of treatment, the therapist spends a couple of hours every week with the adolescent and his or her family for at least four months. During this period, the therapist interviews the young adult, the family along with the peers and the school official so as to identify the predicament affecting the adolescent and the causes. The psychotherapist also finds out the young adult’s personal strength as well as the positive characteristics of the family, friends and school that may be utilised to tackle the deviant behaviour and sets up goals which the adolescent is supposed to achieve. The goals may restrict contact with delinquent acquaintances or demand constant school attendance. It may also include aims involving the guardians such as curfews implementations and increased communications amid the teacher and the guardian.
According to research done on this therapeutic approach there was a reduction in the number of repeated felonies to the youths who were subjected to this treatment by up to twenty six percent. What is more, the average number of arrests also dwindled drastically as compared to the number of the control groups and the multisystemic treatment recidivists’ apprehensions were of less serious misdemeanours. This shows that the program is effective in rehabilitating juvenile delinquents (Watson & Battistich, 2009). On the other hand, limitation arises on the number of youths that can be involved in the program at any given time. Since the program requires a group consisting of twelve to fifteen members, a majority of the troubled youths are left out. More so, the program is ineffective when it comes to administering treatment to large numbers.
Other models of treatment programs include the residential group homes which are closely incorporated with the society and function on behavioural lines. The purpose of this program is to provide a community based environment with a family unit to juveniles who are on the verge of being institutionalised. The goal here is to develop good behaviour through strengthening, portraying and teaching on the skills required in societal, self care, academic together with prevocational areas that the young adults have not obtained. For instance, if low intelligence is the root cause of the delinquency acts, then any program which augments school success will result in a lesser degree of the offending.
With regards to findings however, youths charged with misdemeanours such as aggression as well as stealing are better suited for this therapeutic approach although the benefits are to a large extent short lived on the second group. Another demerit is that program is filled with methodological difficulties which pose a great threat to the successful implementation of the program. Nonetheless, there are remarkable benefits upon its correct implementation as the theoretic approach indicates success.
Even though both prevention and treatment aim at eradicating antisocial behaviour among the youth, they both possess their strengths and weakness. Regardless of their weakness, the juvenile justice system still utilises both approaches with the aim of bringing up better individuals with a sense of responsibility in the society. These two approaches have a couple of similar aspects. The first one is that both aim at eradicating delinquency behaviour by offering an environment for the youth to attain a sense of responsibility to the society in which they live in. They both strive to bring out the best in the youth by taking away their attention from destructive patterns. They ensure that juvenile delinquents attend school regularly, relate positively with their peers, parents or teachers and take part in developing the community. In addition to this, both approaches rarely use any form of medication to administer these changes. The desired character is mainly enforced through constructive activities.
The differences however are brought about by the manner in which the goals of both approaches are implemented. In prevention programs, the approach is to create activities that will develop the skill of the adolescent while at the same time monitor the negative vices that keep him or her at the wrong side of the law. This is achieved through the creation of youth service facilities where the youth can engage in constructive programs. On the contrary, treatment programs entail therapeutic sessions that seek to restore the sense of morality back into the youth’s way of life. The program revolves around everyday relations of the youth that is, his or her peers, the guardians as well as the teachers. It also seeks to see only positive influencers around the troubled adolescent.
Treatment programs not only offer help to the young adult but also give training programs to the parents and supervise the interrelation between the parent and the teachers contrary to preventive programs that only focus on the troubled youth. Moreover, treatment programs revolve around every aspect of the adolescent’s life regardless of the type while preventive programs are usually specific. For instance, there are those that aim at preventing failure in school and there are those that focus on behavioural changes toward the family. Lastly, treatment programs are usually community based that is the entire community works toward changing the character of the troubled youth for the better whilst preventive programs are individual based whereby the care givers only focus on that individual without involving the community.
Nevertheless, both approaches are equally important as they hinder the progression of juvenile delinquency into chronic criminality. They thus divert the youth from criminal careers at an early age in the process saving the cost of future interventions. Prevention programs are necessary as they stop any possibility of the development of antisocial behaviour by giving the youth a better alternative through their involvement in constructive activity. Treatment activities restore young people to their previous state that is prior to their involvement in delinquency. Both approaches are important as one brings out the desired change whereas the other maintains that change. They are consequently vital to the juvenile justice system as they ensure that young people stay of deviant behaviour and hinder their progression into hard core criminals. Both juvenile delinquency prevention and treatment are connected in the sense that they aim at producing good behaviour in young adults and help them maintain these characteristics in the long run.
Alder, C. (2005). Diversion Programmes. Sydney: Methuen Press.
Burns, J., & Stangl, D. (2007). Parental Training Control Programs. Educational Psychology ,
23 (7), 30.
Dishion, T., McCord, J., & Poulin, F. (2010). When interventions harm: Peer groups and
           problem behavior. American Psychologist , 54 (9), 36-37.
Empey, L. (2011). American Delinquency: Its Meaning and Construction. Homewood,
           Illinois: Dorsey.
Lipton, D. (2008). The Effectiveness of Correctional Treatment. New York: Praeger.
Watson, M., & Battistich, V. (2009). Caring School Communities. Jounal of Clinical Child
Psychology , 6 (1), 56.
The paper should address the following:
-a description of delinquency prevention, the fundamental principles of prevention, examples of the types of prevention that have been used, and an analysis of the effectiveness of the prevention (successes and/or failures)
~a description of delinquency treatment, the fundamental principles of treatment, examples of the types of treatment that have been used, and an analysis of the effectiveness of those treatment programs (successes and/or failures)
~a discussion of which aspects of prevention and treatment are similar, and which are different
~an explanation of the overall importance of prevention and treatment—why are both critically necessary components of the juvenile justice system, and to what extent are they interrelated?

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