Need and Importance of Juvenile Justice Diversion Programs Research Paper

Pages: 5 (1467 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice

Juvenile Justice

The Need and Importance of Juvenile Justice Diversion Programs

Diversion is an effort to redirect, or channel out, youthful offenders from the juvenile justice system. The notion of diversion is founded on the theory that processing certain youth through the juvenile justice system may do more damage than good. The foundation of the diversion dispute is that courts may unintentionally stigmatize some youth for having committed fairly petty acts that might best be handled outside the official system. In part, diversion programs are also intended to improve the problem of overloaded juvenile courts and overloaded corrections institutions, including detention facilities, so that courts and institutions can focus on more serious offenders (Diversion Programs: An Overview, 1999).

Court officials must balance the interests of public security with the needs of youth when making decisions about which program to place a juvenile offender and which stage of restriction is necessary. Juvenile offenders who commit serious or violent crime may need incarceration in order to protect public safety and concentrated supervision and involvement to become rehabilitated. On the other hand, a lot of offenders can be successfully rehabilitated by way of community-based supervision and intervention (Austin, Johnson, & Weitzer, 2005).

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Secure detention differs from secure confinement both in terms of the basis a youth is being held and in the assortment and concentration of programs available to an offender in each setting. "Secure detention refers to the holding of youth, upon arrest, in a juvenile detention facility for two main purposes: to ensure the youth appears for all court hearings and to protect the community from future offending. In contrast, secure confinement refers to youth who have been adjudicated delinquent and are committed to the custody of correctional facilities for periods generally ranging from a few months to several years. These confinement facilities have a much broader array of programs than detention facilities" (Austin, Johnson, & Weitzer, 2005).

Research Paper on Need and Importance of Juvenile Justice Diversion Programs Assignment

Status offenders, on the other hand, do not necessitate secure detention in order to guarantee their observance with court orders or to guard public safety. However, recent data shows that thirty three percent of all youth held in juvenile detention centers are apprehended for status offenses and procedural violations of probation. Detaining youth in facilities before adjudication should be a choice of last resort only for severe, aggressive, and continual offenders and for those who repeatedly fail to appear for scheduled court dates. "Secure detention and confinement are almost never fitting for status offenders and certain other small groups of offenders like those who are very young, susceptible, first-time offenders, charged with non-serious offenses and those with active, involved parents or strong community support systems" (Austin, Johnson, & Weitzer, 2005).

Programs that divert youth from participation in the juvenile justice system have become more recurrent in response to the growing gratitude that such involvement frequently is not necessary to attain society's goals. The research literature on juvenile diversion programs and state statutes governing diversion provide several purposes for developing ways to steer clear of formal processing of youth. Some of the objectives that are used by various diversion programs include:

Reducing Recidivism - diminishing repeat offending, thus contributing to public safety.

Providing Services - guaranteeing that youth who are in need of intervention and treatment receive services that will help to decrease the likelihood of future offending and meet their developmental and problem associated needs.

Reducing System Costs - assuring that the juvenile justice system's resources are reserved for use with youth who must be officially processed, adjudicated, and transformed.

Reducing Unnecessary Social Control - assuring that youth, as citizens, are subjected to no more state intervention than is needed, and that caretakers, rather than the state are accountable for their children whenever probable.

Increasing Successful Outcomes for the Youth - diversion programs may seek to augment school engagement, present opportunities for positive skill development, increase pro-social activities, or target other criteria that assess success for youth.

Assuring Accountability - assuring that youth, while staying away from adjudication, understand the seriousness of their actions and the effects that their behaviors may have on the victim, community and their family, and holding them responsible by way of some type of restitution instead of juvenile court sentencing.

Avoiding Labeling Effects - dropping the likelihood that youth, were they to be formally processed, obtain a social label or self-perception as delinquent, which may in fact contribute to additional delinquency.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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