More on Rehabilitation & Economics

Even the school can be enacted, in alternative means to rehabilitation, as a solid base by which to begin the process of involving the juvenile in acts other than crime. The school system delivers a wealth of activities and after-school programs that at once deliver to the delinquent a means by which to feel connected and involved and also keeps the juvenile away from a former set of friends and behavior. In regards to crime being committed more by at-risk children than say a middle-class to high-class segment of children Hirschi states,

In short, the data suggest, there are no groups of substantial proportions in American society that positively encourage crime in the sense that those belonging to the groups in question would prefer their children to follow their own rather than a conventional way of life. In fact, on the basis of the data presented here, it appears there are no groups of substantial proportions in American society whose values are neutral with respect to crime. The beliefs and values that feed delinquency are not peculiar to any social class or (nondelinquent) segment of the population.

(Hirschi 1969, 230). There is therefore no set standard as to what economic type of child will find themselves in a criminal life, the control theorists state that the determining factor in rehabilitation is in fact the bond between juvenile and parent, and by extension, juvenile and society. In the process of conformity and sense of value in a community a juvenile is more likely to acquiesce to the standards expected of him/her and thereby become a working member of the society and not a delinquent.

Rehabilitation is found in the ingrained morality that is given to the delinquent by their parent and that is something that the juvenile justice system does not always agree with in their actions of sending boys and girls to detention centers instead of to their parents. The juvenile jail system has been credited with delivering to its incarcerated inhabitants the ability to be exposed to more livelihoods involving crime.

The deterrent that the system is supposed to put in place in fact weakens the moral thread a juvenile has, and instead of rehabilitation, the system delivers the delinquents into the mouth of the beast, as it were. Rehabilitation is about conditioning a delinquent enough so that they may be accepted into society and be a working member of that community. When a juvenile enters into a jail system they are being exposed to any number of violent crimes, and new ways in which to do crime, and a new gang system of friends that make crime easier and more accessible.

When juveniles are tried as adults for their crimes, there are two distinct view points: one advocating the adequateness of juveniles paying penitence for adult crimes and the other side which says that the continued exposure of juveniles to the life of crime, even in prison, only serves to further their lifestyle in crime and in fact the adults in prison commit crimes against juveniles. In the book Juvenile Crime Opposing Viewpoints (1997) the article written by Garcetti and O’Leary entitled, More Juveniles Should Be Tried As Adults, they state, “Punishment that fits the crime must be meted out fairly and with certainty.

Currently, juvenile burglars are often sent straight home on probation while adults who commit the same offense get a mandatory prison sentence; this sort of thing makes juvenile offenders believe they can get away with almost anything” (Garcetti and O’Leary 1997, 177). The juvenile criminal doesn’t always understand the extent or amorality of their crimes (such as children under a certain age, let’s say ten, commit murder). These children should not be placed in a detention center, or jail where adults are also incarcerated.

The detriment to that child’s well being should be considered first before exposing them to such violent criminals that are held in prison. If a child commits a crime, an ‘adult’ crime, then there should be a punishment involved, there should not be the issue of putting that child in a holding cell with adults because violent crimes in prison will happen to the person less likely to be able to defend themselves. Following parent’s ability to instill in juveniles a sense of morality, Garcetti and O’Leary, further state,

Parents must be held responsible for keeping their children in school. We can enforce violations of the Education Code and at the same time assist parents with “stay in school” programs. Parents must also pay for the damage their children cause, including the cost of graffiti cleanups. Current law provides for restitution of up to $10,000 to victims of juvenile crime. New laws should simplify this recover and reinforce parental responsibility, while also offering parenting assistance.

(Garcetti & O’Leary  1997, 177) In regards to alternative rehabilitation, there is no qualm against holding the parent responsible for the child and the actions of the child. Alternative rehabilitation such as community service holds the whereabouts of the child with the responsibility of the parent. If a more detached parent is made responsible for the child’s delinquent behavior then perhaps a stronger bond of morality can be put in place through the child’s rehabilitation in making the parent the parole officer.

In this way also, a child becomes aware that their actions affect more than themselves. In this type of rehabilitation, a child can fully understand the retributions to their actions. With the parent being mandated to incorporate themselves in the children’s life (assuming their was a previous family dysfunction where such a relationship did not exist) allows for the child to realize the moral issue of their crime, and their place in the actions they committed.