The use of Restorative Justice as a philosophy in framing the Juvenile Justice Reform agenda. Given the guidelines to be considered, restorative justice defines accountability on the reparation of harm done to all parties concerned and assuming responsibility for one’s own actions (FREELAVA, 2005). This philosophy posits as well that the future of the offender must be emphasized along with the harmful effects of his crime on others (FREELAVA, 2005). This covers the Governor’s guideline that the young offender’s potential to be rehabilitated for change.
Lastly, restorative justice treats a crime as a community affair (FREELAVA, 2005) , wherein the community has direct responsibility for the response and prevention of juvenile delinquency. 2. RECOMMENDATION 2: Community-based Reform as a program proposal. A community-based juvenile justice system may be the answer to youth crime concentrated in certain communities, especially territorial gangs. This recommendation follows the first, wherein the community must be directly involved in handling and preventing youth crime. 3. RECOMMENDATION 3: Incorporating special education programs that are designed to prevent youth from committing crime.
Studies have shown that 40 percent of youth currently incarcerated or detained are suffering from some form of learning difficulty (Robertson, C. , 1996). Adjusting to the needs of youth like these before they commit the crime with a program that helps them in decision-making and problem-solving may reduce the number of youth offenders and transform them into more responsible individuals in the future. 4. RECOMMENDATION 4: Employment training for underprivileged and released youth offenders. Studies have shown that most released youth offenders do not continue high school (Robertson, C. , 1996).
Employment training will equip youth with needed skills for livelihood and social interaction. This may reduce the number of repeat offenders and first-time offenders as well, especially crime brought about by poverty and lack of resources. 5. RECOMMENDATION 5: Use of United Nation’s Conference on the Rights of a Child’s definition of a child as a person 17 years old or lower so as to prevent minors being tried as adults. In no circumstances, even with an extremely heinous crime or numerous repeated offenses must an individual 17 years of age or lower be tried as an adult.
This is to make sure that all the youth are treated equally. 6. RECOMMENDATION 6: Involvement of people’s organizations in diversion programs. This will instill a sense of responsibility in the youth offender as one aside from that of the crime, gives the community a holistic view of the individual as more than the crime, especially in youth who have great potential for rehabilitation. Working with civic groups may raise awareness in the individual about the consequences of his actions on society and help in reintegrating the youth offender into the community with less stigma and anger.
7. RECOMMENDATION 7: Not trial but mediation within the community. This promotes personal responsibility for one’s actions, as the offender, victim and community should discuss and reconcile. Trial focuses on punishment, and with the developmental differences between young people and adults, the capacity to learn from experiences is greater in youth than adults. The community is responsible for rehabilitating or facilitating ways for the youth to make reparations. 8. RECOMMENDATION 8: Community education activities with parents and leaders.
Involving parents and prominent community members emphasizes community responsibility for factors that cause youth crime. Involving the former may help in prevention. References: FREELAVA. (2005). Guidelines for a Community-Based Diversion and Prevention Programme for Children in Conflict with the Law. Quezon City, Philippines: Save the Children UK Philippines Programme. Robertson, C. (1996). Exploring Juvenile Justice: Theory and Practice. Nevada, USA: Copperhouse Publishing Company.