Talking of delinquency implies juvenile delinquency which is construed to refer to the behavior of children or/and adolescents which, in adults would /be judged as criminal under the law. In the US for instance when we talk of juvenile, there are age limits (which of course differ from one country to another) in which one is said to be juvenile case. The juvenile otherwise criminal behavior is separated from the adults’ law because they are considered to be immature to some degree and therefore may not be held responsible for their deeds.
Nevertheless they are punished for such behavior but the punishment is not as harsh as it could get if the culprit was an adult. The age limit in US varies from state to state: Other states use 13 as the maximum age below which one is considered a juvenile whereas others put 21 years. In the United States, definitions and age limits of juveniles vary, the maximum age being set at 14 years in some states and as high as 21 years in others.
The 16-20 age groups, which will basically pass as adults in many places, constitute the highest incidences of juvenile crimes (Theft, serious property crimes and rape being the common crimes committed). It has been established that most of the adult criminals have a juvenile criminal past and this forced the government to separate the judgment of the criminal offenders such the juveniles could be judged in a lesser manner in their juvenile court.
The institutionalization of the juvenile court, back in 1899, had on major objective of not only conducting a more informal procedure on the juvenile offenders but also to correction of the juvenile offenders other than punishing them (Hirschi & Selvin ,1996). The cause of the criminal cases among the juveniles, just like all the other crimes, is a complex synergy among social, economic and psychological factors. For instance, studies have indicated high incidences of delinquency in poverty- prone neighborhoods while clinicians have also established strong emotional and psychological maladjustments in most of the delinquents.
Therefore, the cause of the juvenile delinquency incidents is a complex synergy which requires a specialized approach distinct of correctional objectivity as opposed to punishment. It has often been suggested that if a motivation for a given behavior is identified and eliminated, then there is no possibility of the behavior reoccurring again unless the motivation is reinstated. Introduction Crime, delinquency and social welfare have one very interesting relationship that is worth studying. Crime is defined as any offence or behavior that goes against the state law.
Crime in its general understanding points to socially unacceptable behaviors but in a more limited and confined meaning, crime is any behavior that falls among state’s behaviors classified as either felonies or misdemeanor upon which a felony is a serious offence punishable by law. Delinquency on the other hand is the failure, either deliberate or otherwise, to act or behave as per the law or duty requirements. Finally, social welfare is the collection of all the social services provided by the government for the benefit of the citizens.
Therefore, when we talk of crime, delinquency and social welfare we are simply referring to the fact that the youth who indulge in felonies or crimes, juvenile delinquents, require special services offered by the government (e. g. correctional centers, counseling, education, medical care, etc) all for the benefit of part or the entire citizenry(NCCD, 1955). As indicated earlier, the government institutionalized the juvenile courts such that the correct and rehabilitate the young criminals or juvenile delinquents rather than harshly punished.
This is done under the rationale that the youth still have the chance of reforming. Secondly, to address the social, economic, and psytchological factors that gang up to push the youth to such acts and finally, correctional arrangements for the juvenile delinquents as a social welfare act meant to benefit the culprits themselves and at the same time rid the society of future criminals. The last rationale is indeed important in this case and therefore this paper will seek to design a community based program that acts as an alternative to incarceration for young offenders.
Problem and the Rationale for Implementing This Program When the government introduced the juvenile court, obviously there was a reason for this. The main reason was to separate the youth from the adults whose rational mechanisms are fully developed and therefore are qualified to be held entirely responsible for their actions. Since the juvenile delinquents could not be entirely held responsible for their criminal acts due their young and immature rational nature it was necessary that they had to be judged separately in a juvenile court whose main objective was correction and rehabilitation and not punishment.
Since then, there have been a number of juvenile delinquency incidents which have been on the increase by the day. The fact that there is a confirmed relationship between adult crime and juvenile delinquency breeds a crisis thus the need to come in and design a program that is meant to reform the juvenile delinquents because: ? It is rational to do so ? It is the responsibility of the government and society at large to guide its youth ? The society misgivings lead to juvenile delinquency thus doing something to clear their mess is their long overdue responsibility
? The juvenile delinquents of today are potential productive and responsible parents, citizens, leaders and developmental manpower of tomorrow ? This act is a strategic step taken in time to manage future adult crime rates ? Findings indicate that the youths from poverty stricken neighborhoods as a result of disintegrated families with low occupational incomes and low education are more likely to participate in juvenile delinquency than their counterparts from the middle and upper class neighborhoods who are receiving quality and higher education.
Therefore, there is need to provide the education, health care and other basic provisions in youth correctional centers with competent and efficient programs to mitigate the motivations to juvenile delinquency, the motivations upon whose elimination means elimination of possibility of the culprits going back to crime either in their remaining juvenile ages or in adult lives (Krisberg & Austin, 1993). Aims, Objectives and Intended Outcomes Aims and Objectives of the Program
The program shares the objective that led to the installation of the juvenile courts in 1899, that the juvenile delinquents need correction and rehabilitation as opposed to harsh punishment. However besides the above chief objectives, the program shall also aim to: ? Provide education, health care and other basic facilities to juveniles in government correctional centers whose lack may have led to the delinquency in the first place ? Offer psychological support to establish and manage the psychological maladjustments behind the delinquent acts
? Channel the efforts of the delinquents to positive developmental community work such as environmental activities such as cleaning of the neighborhoods, tree planting etc, and sports to release stress and tension which has a dangerous psychological component ? Totally rehabilitate the delinquents in a measurable way thus limiting their chances of indulging in criminal acts in future (Gus, 2005) ? Encouraging healthy youth forums among the youths where positive peer pressure may be exerted on the delinquents
? Use of mentors to monitor the progress of the delinquents in the correctional centers motivating art the same time delaying reinforcement until the desired behavior is exhibited. Intended Outcomes First, the program will set out to ensure that the delinquents it admits go out of the correctional facility totally reformed individuals with nearly zero probability of going back to crime either immediately or later in the adult life when all the other things are held constant.
Secondly, the program desires measurable reduced juvenile delinquency rates and strategic reduced future adult crimes. Furthermore, the youths going out of the centers carrying out the program will emerge as balanced beings in the social, psychological and physical arenas. Finally, the program desires total conversion of negative energy to positive energy channeled to social community work as mentioned earlier (Krisberg & Austin,1993). The Program Program Outline The program takes in some of the juvenile delinquents destined to the government juvenile correctional centers.
These juvenile delinquents are taken to alternative centers which are privately owned but work in partnership with the government in the rehabilitation of the juvenile delinquents. The centers shall have schools, health and psychiatry amenities, library, sporting facilities and other facilities necessary and required by the delinquents. The admitted delinquents are supposed to be held in the centers until they have reformed while at the same time working with the parents to share the progress and what kind of preparations the family needs to take prior to the delinquents return to home.
The family is assisted financially to be able to provide basic needs to the youths or counseling is given trying to reinstate the disintegrated families all these in a bid to eliminate the crime motivating factors inn the family set up. Once all this is achieved, the reformed juveniles are released to go home and a post release case management and supervision program is started to monitor the released delinquents and may be returned to the center if involved in crime again.
However, the released subjects are advised to visit the center from time to time in which they share their life after the center with others of the same status under the post release social networking aimed at reinforcing the youths’ efforts to stay away from crime by sharing experiences with others. This will continue until the youth shows changes behavior patterns that guarantee almost zero probability of engaging in crime for the rest of their juvenile life and the later adult crime.
It is important to note that those juveniles who attain majority age while under the program are automatically released or if they had already been released, will stop to visit the center. Target Group The juvenile delinquents judged in the juvenile courts and destined for government correctional and rehabilitation centers. However, it is not the entire population destined to the government run correctional and rehabilitation centers is admitted to the program centers otherwise this will drive the government out of practice.
Only those delinquents whose offences are serious are perceived to have resulted from serious psychological maladjustments or/and disturbance shall be admitted to the program’s centers. These may be delinquents from different parts of the state so as to remove the culprits away from the stimulus environment and also share with other similar delinquents from other parts of the state. Legibility and Referrals to the Program’s centers As mentioned earlier, the juvenile delinquents whose offences are serious are perceived to have resulted from serious psychological maladjustments or/and disturbance shall be admitted to the program’s centers.
During the case hearing the culprits shall be examines by the program center’s highly qualified psychiatrists and counselors to establish of the delinquents qualify to for admission to the program’s centers based on the gravity of the offence and psychological and mental status of the culprits besides the offence’s motivational factors (Gus, 2005). Place and Time for Implementation of the Program As mentioned earlier, the centre will only admit and start implementing the program on sentenced juvenile delinquents whose offences are serious are perceived to have resulted from serious psychological maladjustments or/and disturbance.
Therefore, this is the time the program starts to be implemented base on the detailed report on each individual delinquent. The program shall start to be implemented in only one of the states as a trial. The state is chosen based on the juvenile delinquency rates; the highest ranking state shall take the honor of hosting the pilot program. The program will run for a period of three years during which its efficiency, practicability, feasibility and many other aspects shall be evaluated.
If the results of the elaborate and detailed evaluation and assessment are desirable, then there will be a rolling out process aimed at installation of at least one or more such program’s centers in each state depending on the size of the state in question. Funding Needs and Funding Sources Funding Needs The program requires a large sum of funds because it is elaborate and detailed. The funds will be used for the building of all facilities, staffing, furnishing the buildings according to required capacity, expenditure on sub programs and other miscellaneous expenditures. Below is rough estimate of the financial need for the program.