The juvenile justice system was established in the United States of America to cater for young offenders and avoid them going to the adult prisons, which in most cases degrade a human being’s behavior. The main focus of the juvenile system was that the young offender was a person who needed assistance and not on the act that brought him in the first place. The juveniles are not found guilty but rather adjudicated delinquent; they are not charged with crimes but rather with delinquencies and finally, they are not sent to prison but to reformatory schools.
Based on history and trends, the juvenile system has not been in its best shape yet and therefore some issues need to be taken into consideration to ensure that we get good and viable juvenile justice system where the young offenders will get rehabilitated instead of just being punished as they have bright future ahead of them (Shusta, 2002).
It is a common belief that if the community would be involved with juveniles it will reduce recidivism since the community will provide positive social network for the young people and it will give them a sense of belonging, which is very important in their rehabilitation process. Parents, clergy men, community leaders and peers are stakeholders in the community, and if involved with juveniles, it will impact them positively and they will see how high expectations from fellow members of the community are.
Juveniles get to the system through law enforcement and it is the law enforcement’s input that has weight in the system. The police department’s attitude towards the juvenile delinquents should change so as to ensure an effective system. Most of the law enforcers see the youngsters as just like any criminal without keeping in mind that they could be mentally disturbed and just need assistance and not to be scorned.
Some cases that involve juvenile delinquents sometimes never reach the juvenile court; they are solved informally by law enforcement, probation officers and child protective services workers. These small time offenders end up getting away with their mistakes and in due time become major offenders and that is when their crimes reach the juvenile court when it is too late to help the youngster. It is therefore recommended that all cases, whether major or minor, should be taken up in court and the court will give due sentence to the affected party. This way, the young offenders will get rehabilitated before they loose control of themselves.
The delinquent juveniles are supposed to get rehabilitated in the system rather than being punished; but punishment is also part of the process. The system should focus on giving assistance to the delinquents to ensure that they improve and become better citizens. At the same time, they also should get punished for the crimes they committed so as to ensure the same crime or any other is not repeated when they get out. The system is supposed to prepare them on how to adjust to the community after they finish their sentence in the system.
Private Sector Involvement
Private sector should be involved in helping the government to incarcerate young offenders. Most important is that private sector should focus more on the delinquents rather than on their stake and profits of the organization. They need to ensure that young offenders that have been placed in their care should come out as the law abiding citizens and not the law breaking citizens of tomorrow. They must set their priorities right and correction and rehabilitation are to be their major objectives to ensure that the juvenile system is not a sinking ship.
Juvenile system is being faced by challenges from all over and it is important for it to seek community as well as private sector involvement to ensure that the juvenile system ship is still afloat. The courts and the law enforcers should also pull up their socks to bring each and every delinquent to book and to receive the required assistance.