Term Paper: Juvenile Justice Policy

Pages: 4 (1486 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] But the purpose of boot camps for juvenile offenders is to teach and internalize new personal habits and social abilities. When the offender learns from experience that he or she can live a different life style, the desire for change becomes internalized, and personally meaningful. Boot camps have demonstrated a high degree of effectiveness when coupled with rigorous academic and other treatment programs. These programs also are significantly more cost effective than traditional congregate incarceration facilities.


Restitution programs require offenders to compensate their victims. Restitution alone is not an appropriate sanction for the most serious, violent offenders, hut it often is a valuable component of treatment and punishment. The purpose of restitution is to create a restorative justice system that attempts to mitigate the victims' loss and diminish societal costs of juvenile crime, while at the same time punishing the offender. Preliminary research indicates a slightly lower recidivism rate for juvenile offenders on probation who participate in restitution programs.(Butts and Snyder, 1992)

Those who argue against restitution programs point out that restitution is limited by the nature of the crime, and that for some crimes -- especially violent ones -- restitution offers no appropriate compensation. However, restitution goes beyond 'paying back' the victim and punishing the offender. Crime has a social and moral component, and by forcing the criminal to face his victim, socio-dynamic forces can come into the situation which, again, create the inner desire for change within the offender. His crime now has a face, and a life, and a name. The relational experience of the juvenile offender through the restitution system can make a lasting impression on him which incarceration cannot.

Wilderness Challenges

Wilderness programs are aimed primarily at rehabilitation. Such programs place juveniles in small groups and then set a series of increasingly difficult physical challenges for them.(Roberts, 1998) The programs emphasize self-reliance, community participation, teamwork, and individual accomplishment. Wilderness programs vary greatly from state to state, but some currently focus on serious, violent, and chronic offenders. These programs are difficult to compare with other alternatives because of their variety.

If early reformers were correct, that environmental conditioning creates the criminal rather than willful behavior, then the wilderness challenges give the juvenile opportunity to exit his environment, and learn positive lessons of teamwork, and social dependence which will affect his perspective of his place in the world. Too often the urban setting is impersonal, and the juvenile finds crime as he identifies himself with other, older friends. In a desire to 'connect' within a place of impersonal urban surroundings, the juvenile is a victim of his surroundings.

The alternative programs listed here have put into place a system which addressed the needs for which the juvenile system was originally created. By reaching past the environment, and forcing the juvenile to participate in a setting which teach him or her social, academic, team building and positive peer relationship skills, the alternative juvenile justice programs are more effective at rehabilitation while at the same time being more cost effective, and lowering recivitism rates.


Matthew O. Howard, Jeffrey M. Jenson. (1998) Youth crime, public policy, and practice in the juvenile justice system: recent trends and needed reforms

Social Work, Vol. 43.

Jennifer M. O'Connor, Lucinda Kinau Treat. (1996) Getting smart about getting tough: juvenile justice and the possibility of progressive reform. American Criminal Law Review, Vol. 33.

Howell, J.C., Krisberg, B., & Jones, M. (1995). Trends in juvenile crime and youth violence. In J.C. Howell, B. Krisberg, J.D. Hawkins, & J.J. Wilson (Eds.), A sourcebook: Serious, violent, and chronic juvenile offenders (pp. 1-35). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Butterfield, F. (1996, May 12). States revamping youth crime laws. The New York Times, p. 1.

Barbara Allen-Hagan, (1991) U.S. Dep't of Justice, Public Juvenile Facilities: Children in Custody 9.

Judith Sheindlin, (1994) What Can Be Done About the Scourge of Violence Among Juveniles? The Experts on Different Fronts of the Battlefield Discuss Strategies, N.Y. Times, Dec. 30. A25

Albert R. Roberts & Michael J. Camasso, (1991). The Effect of Juvenile Offender Treatment Programs on Recidivism: A Meta-Analysis of Forty-six Studies, 5 Notre Dame J.L. Ethics & Pub. Pol'y 421, 437

U.S. Dep't of Justice, What Works: Promising Interventions in Juvenile Justice (1994).

David Shichor & Arnold Binder, Community Restitution for Juveniles: An Approach and Preliminary Evaluation, in Youth Crime,

Jeffrey A. Butts & Howard N. Snyder. (1992) U.S. Dep't of Justice, Restitution… [END OF PREVIEW]

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