Intervening With Juvenile Drug Crimes Term Paper

Pages: 33 (9197 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 23  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Children

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Arrests among juveniles for aggravated assault rose 67% between 1988 and 1992. Arrests for aggravated assault for children under 15 years of age climbed by 80%.

Between 1988 and 1992, the number of children under the age of 15 arrested for committing forcible rape increased over 49%.

There are many reasons for concern when it comes to literacy rates in the United States. The Los Angeles Times recently reported that approximately 60% of local children were in danger of failing their third-grade reading proficiency test (Tallal, 2000).

Millions of American students are not learning disabled yet they enter school with poor English skills. As a result, they do not learn to read and end up in special education classes, which have lowered expectations and poor prospects. As a result, literacy has become one of the greatest social issues of our times.

According to the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus, public schools pay twice as much to provide special education services to a child (Tallal, 2000). Despite these extra services, twice as many students with learning disabilities become high school dropouts. This leads to lower employment rates and higher adjudication rates.

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In the United States, approximately 85% of juvenile offenders have learning disabilities and are illiterate. Therefore, finding out the causes of illiteracy is of utmost importance and has become a major focus of scientific research.

Because so many juvenile offenders have learning disabilities and are illiterate, this paper will aim to find out what the causes of illiteracy are. We need to find out what the characteristics of delinquency are, as well as find any links between illiteracy and delinquency. To answer these questions, we will analyze existing data on the subject. These questions are important, as they will uncover the facts about illiteracy in juveniles.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Intervening With Juvenile Drug Crimes Assignment

The majority of youth held in juvenile detention and correctional facilities have some sort of reading problem (Hidge, Giulotti, and Portopage, 2000). A significant number are considered functionally illiterate, meaning that they read below the fourth-grade level. Upon their release from detention, many juvenile offenders will have difficulty in achieving and competing in today's challenging information society.

One characteristic of juveniles incarcerated in juvenile detention facilities is their poor experience with elementary and secondary education. For many juvenile offenders, problems with reading are related to poor academic achievement. However, with effective and consistent instruction, the literacy levels of juvenile offenders can improve significantly.

According to Rolf Loeber of the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of the University of Pittsburgh Medical School, there is a link between illiteracy and delinquency. Both school performance, whether measured by literacy levels or teacher-rated reading performance, and retention in grade relate to delinquency (Hidge, Giulotti, and Portopage, 2000). The relationship between literacy and delinquency is apparent for even first graders. In addition, retention in grade associates with delinquency even for first graders.

The study of 2,670 juvenile offenders, administered by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), revealed that the average student, while 15 years, 6 months of age at the time of testing and in the ninth grade, was reading at only a fourth-grade level. "Thirty-eight percent of all students scored below fourth grade."

OJJDP found a model that was designed to improve the literacy level of youth in juvenile detention and correctional facilities by training language arts teachers and relevant staff and volunteers in direct instruction methods to significantly improve students' comprehension, particularly for those with reading problems (Hidge, Giulotti, and Portopage, 2000). Direct instruction methods include high levels of student engagement and teacher-directed classrooms use sequenced structured materials appropriate for each student's ability.

This model was used to teach young adult inmates at the Soledad Penitentiary in California, yielding dramatic results. According to, "significantly increased skills in composition, vocabulary, mechanics, and spelling were noted for 75% of the participants." In addition, the inmates showed a newly found self-esteem and improved self-image. Similar results were demonstrated with inmates in the Mississippi prison system.

Such studies are fuelling further research linking illiteracy and juvenile delinquency. We need to know if teaching reading skills in juvenile facilities will determine whether or not students will succeed or fail in learning to read accurately. Therefore, interviews with researchers, teacher educators, juvenile correctional administrators and professional staff, classroom teachers, and incarcerated juvenile offenders are in order.

We already know that illiteracy is a major contributor to aggression, which often leads to juvenile crime. Thus, literacy, in addition to the types of research concerning it, must be examined. The goal of the proposed study is to produce evidence that shows that effective reading instruction can reduce aggression, ultimately reducing criminal activity and increasing employment opportunity for juvenile offenders.

It has already been demonstrated that reading skills can be taught to juvenile offenders. Now we need a study that shows that literacy can reduce juvenile delinquency. This study attempts to measure the impact of literacy on reducing juvenile offenses by analyzing the responses by participants in the survey described in the previous section.

This study will be based on information obtained in three surveys of participants. Survey One is given to participants at the beginning of the study, Survey Two is completed is sent to participants about three months after the original study, and Survey Three is sent to participants one year after the study.

Survey One asks participants to indicate their age and the number of juvenile offenses they have participated in. Respondents are given a literacy test. The illiterate respondents will be given the opportunity to learn to read. After three months in a literacy program, their skills will be assessed. By the time the last survey is administered, the participants should be functionally literate. At this point, the survey will concentrate on increases or decreases in aggressive behavior, self-esteem and juvenile offenses.

The majority of youth in the juvenile drug courts is illiterate, preventing school success and contributing to delinquency. These illiterate juveniles are at higher risk for high school expulsion or dropout, pregnancy, alcohol and substance abuse, continued juvenile delinquency and criminal conviction that are their literate peers. For this reason, this study calls for the government to address the behavioral and educational needs of these youth. By making a greater effort to understand their behavior and teach them how to read and writer, we can eventually reduce school dropout and delinquent behavior in the U.S.

What are Drug Crimes?

In order to attempt to break the juvenile drug-crime cycle, it is important to first understand what a drug crime is. A drug crime is the possession, manufacture, use and distribution of any type of illegal substance, including narcotics, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, anabolic steroids or chemicals that are used in the production of drugs. The following are the most common types of illegal drugs:

Cocaine

Heroin

Methamphetamine (meth)

Ecstasy

GHB

PCP

LSD

Marijuana

The consequences of a drug crime conviction are severe and may include one or more of the following:

Imprisonment

Probation or parole

Loss of custody of children

Court ordered counseling

Significant fines

Loss of a job

Community service

Loss of residency

Deportation

The likelihood of any of the above consequences depends on the amount of drugs in possession and the type of drug. It also depend on the person's prior convictions, parole status, community attitudes and more.

Trends in Juvenile Drug Crimes

According to research, juvenile delinquents use drugs at a higher rate and at an earlier age than other youth groups (Catalano et al., 1988). According to the NIJ's Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring, which evaluated drug use among juvenile arrestees in 12 sites, the proportion of juvenile delinquents testing positive for marijuana ranged from 47 to 64% and the proportion testing positive for cocaine ranged from 4 to 15% (National Institute of Justice, 1999). Other studies reveal that juvenile delinquents who use drugs are responsible for disproportionately higher rates of offending levels of violent offenses and face a greater risk of future offending compared with delinquents who are not under the influence of drugs (Catalano et al.)

The link between drug addiction and criminal behavior (Ball et al., 1981) suggests that effective drug treatment is crucial to the future of many young people. However, the effectiveness of current drug treatment for juvenile offenders is not promising. Research suggests that treatment program length, treatment modality, type of admission, and level of program implementation influence the level of success of juvenile delinquents receiving treatment.

For any juvenile court considering the development of effective responses to drug addiction, it is important to understand that length of treatment has been found to influence treatment outcome more than any other variable. According to Simpson, Savage, and Lloyd (1979), at least three months of treatment for drug abuse is necessary. Hubbard and colleagues (1989) report that at least six months is necessary. Longer retention in treatment programs and completion of treatment programs have reportedly reduced future drug criminality and have actually increased employment (Anglin and Hser, 1990). While treatment setting… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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