Juvenile Delinquency Treatment
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It took many years of reforms to come up with appropriate means of treating juvenile offenders. Juvenile offenders include minors committing criminals act. Criminal act involves the omission or commission of any act that violates the state rules and leads to punishment. Children below 18 years commit criminal acts similar to those of an adult, but the age brings out the difference. Earlier, the adults and children committing criminal acts were treated the same way, but by 19th century, many reforms took place in the criminal justice system. Those reforms involved separation of juvenile and adult offenders which resulted to the establishment of different courts to carry out juvenile and adult trials. After 19th century, children and adult offenders were not punished the same way. The reforms were set to help in rehabilitation and making sure that juvenile offenders do not reoffend.
Houses of Refuge
Reformers started the process by building up houses of refuge. Reformers noted the hardship and corruption the youth experienced while in the same jail with the adults. As a result, they proposed to create a house of refuge. The first establishment took place in 1825, in New York followed by 53 more around the country. Houses of refuge hosted juvenile delinquents, poor, orphans and incorrigible children. The house of refuge in New York hosted more than 1,000 children (Michelle, 2010). The house created enough room for juvenile delinquents making sure that they were not jailed in the same place with the adult. Establishment of houses of refuge helped in separation of adult and children offenders. This reduced the unlawful acts which existed in prison leading to adaptation of criminal behavior instead of reformation.
Brutality, deplorable condition and overdrawing cases were reported from the houses of refuge which led to the establishment of industrial or training schools. In 1947, Massachusetts opened the first industrial school for boys and in 1856 for girls. The schools concentrated on vocational training and schooling. Building of the school took place in rural areas since people argued that cities acted as centers for temptations, encouraging many youths to involve in delinquent behavior. In 20th century, many reforms took place in the industrial schools. Reformers brought about things like, new types of therapy, improvement of the education programs, evolution of individual treatment and diagnosis. Currently, many countries use training schools for rehabilitating juvenile offenders (Robert, 2011).
The industrial schools have enabled many youth to reform without reoffending. The schools enable children to gain skills and experience, which helps them in the future. After completion of the term, each child goes back to the society to start up work. In same states, the government provides facilities to the freed offenders to create self employment business. The training schools make the children busy all the time. This limits the changes of practicing or thinking about criminal activities. After rehabilitation, the child gains new skills, which keep him/her busy in the society (Larry, 2010). This enables the child not to interact with other people who victimize them, reminding about their previous experiences. The skill from industrial schools enables the offenders to start up self employment and earn their living.
Until late 19th century, the adult and children offender’s trials took place in criminal courts. England’s education reforms movement perceived the difference between the children and adult morals and cognitive capacities and fueled the movement to fight for reforms in the juvenile justice system. Society for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency also fought for separation of trials courts for adults and children. The efforts for reforms led to the establishment of the first juvenile court in 1988 in Cook County. By 1925, most of the states had followed suit. The court aimed in providing kindhearted and rehabilitation supervision for children. Juvenile court also ensured that children received proper and required care and attention from their parents. The courts focused on the offender rather than the offence and rehabilitation instead of punishment (Larry, 2010). Children under 18 years, trials took place in the juvenile court. In the 20th century, the Supreme Court formalized juvenile court to be more like the criminal courts. During the trial, the child had to receive a confliction notice and appear in court in which the jury had the duty to proof beyond a reasonable doubt before passing out judgment. In 1990’s, due to acceleration of tough on crime, juvenile offenders were transferred to criminal justice system. The change and separation of juvenile court from criminal court helped in rehabilitation since juvenile court focused on rehabilitation rather than punishment (Michelle, 2010).
In 1938, United States passes Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act aimed in keeping adult criminals from youth offenders. The act gave the Attorney General power to decide whether to prosecute juvenile offenders as a juvenile or an adult in respect to the crime committed. Major Act of Congress creation took place because of the increased rates of failing rehabilitation practices. The act covered only juvenile delinquents. The act gave out resources to the state, and local government to help in establishment, planning, coordinating, evaluating and operating rehabilitation projects (Robert, 2011). These acts helped in rehabilitation of juvenile offenders and prevention of reoffending.
Juvenile trial has taken a lot of reforms aimed in finding an appropriate way of rehabilitation. Children commit criminal acts due to social and psychological factors like poverty, peer influence and family background among other. States should concentrate on social and psychological factors before deciding the method to use in rehabilitation of a juvenile offender.
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