Truancy has become very common cause of disturbances in schools yet teachers and school administrators are not well empowered to deal with it. Often schools have had to report truancy cases to the Juvenile Justice System especially when such truancy cases evidently seem to be out of control for the parents of the truants. Ebele poses great danger to other students in that she can cause harm to them as a result of her behavior. On the other hand she can through her peer pressure influence another big number of her fellow school mates to follow her behavior and actions.
Her unexcused absences from school were getting out of control for the teachers. Evidently this posed threat to the school in that it could affect overall school academic performance besides affecting her own performance. In addition her absences could reflect badly on the public image of the school. All the above are genuine concerns form the school administration which resolved to hand Ebele’s case to the juvenile justice system.
Most likely the decision to hand Ebele’s case to the Juvenile Justice System results from the school administration’s trust in the Juvenile system in terms of the juvenile system’s ability to effectively reform youths. According to me, the decision is warranted given the fact that reforming Ebele for the school administrators is unnecessary burden considering the fact that the school is not a rehabilitation center. The school staff lacks the expertise and the right equipments to deal with serious criminal cases as well as the fact that rehabilitation takes a lot of time and resources which the school does not have.
Therefore the school’s decision to hand over Ebele’s case to the Juvenile Justice System is the best decision the school administration could make. Processing certain juvenile offenders through the Juvenile Justice System for example the case of Ebele will do more good than harm. This is because unlike the school which is ill equipped and ill prepared to deal with juvenile case, the Juvenile Justice System is well equipped and has a wide experience of dealing with juveniles as well as the right structures in place.
What will determine whether Ebele will come out of the Juvenile Justice System a better person or not depends on the kind of sentences she gets. Indeterminate sentencing will see her get a chance to be rehabilitated, reformed, changed and rediscovering her life again. On the other hand, being subjected into determinate sentencing may prevent her chances of ever changing and reforming as a 12-year old. Determinate sentencing may be too hard for her to comprehend and perhaps deal with considering her developmental stage.
Furthermore she may not fully appreciate her crimes and may live in denial following a determinate sentencing. Inspite of how one looks at Ebele’s case the Juvenile Justice System is the best positioned to effectively deal with her case. Accordingly diversion will not augur well with the Juvenile Justice System considering that it may show preference in treatment and this may form a basis of accusations on the grounds of racial biases.
Therefore she would be better if formally processed as very few people would raise objection or concerns with her case being formally processed. Formal processing forma a basis for fairness as it is easier to justify the decisions of the Juvenile Justice System. On the contrary diversion is viewed largely as too dependent on the discretion of few law enforcers since it does not allow a room for deliberations. Diversion therefore provides a deep ground of accusations of unfairness. According to (Sheleff, 1987) diversion is inefficient and that the same time inconsistent.
This implies that it is inconsistent wit the philosophy of the Juvenile Justice System which emphasizes on fairness to all regardless of racial background, color, gender, sex or social, religious and ideological differences. Therefore I think the practice of diversion does not fit with the philosophy of the Juvenile Justice System on the basis that it is more vulnerable to biases, ineffectiveness, inefficiency and inconsistency all of which are against fair practice in due process.
Diversion continues to draw a lot of debate in the corridors of Juvenile Justice System here in the United States of America. However it is too early to dismiss diversion in favor of formal processing as effectiveness of one approach over the other largely depends on how well qualified the law enforcers are in terms of better equipment, good training, fairness, adherence to the relevant legislations as well as suitability of a given approach over the other available alternatives.
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