Profile of the Status Offenders

Status offenses as defined by many people are the act that is forbidden only to a specific class of people (minors). It is only considered illegal because the person committing the action is underage. The most common status offenses include underage drinking of liquor, absence in schools (cutting classes), running away from home and incorrigibility against parents’ control. Other behaviors include the offences in using tobacco and the violations created by curfew.

In the strategy created above, personnel from the institutions in charge in preventing juvenile crimes are the ones responsible in status offences process in each and every community. When an adolescent is identified and charge of a juvenile offense, the case is being carried in a juvenile court. The juvenile court will opt to redirect the offender formal or informal court proceedings. It is a formal court proceeding if the offender has to file a petition while informal if the offender is diverted to other agencies for service.

Inside the juvenile court, cases of offenses by the juvenile crimes varies example is on the difference between the formally handled cases by the juvenile court and those that were only referred by law enforcement agencies vary. According to the report (between 1985 and 2000) juvenile court formally handled forty percent of runaway cases by juvenile. There were only ten percent of cases reported for cutting of classes and about eleven percent for incorrigibility against parents’ control.

Only referrals from the law enforcement agencies were reported for the underage use of liquor. Among the reported referrals of the underage liquor use, ninety two percent were formally handled by the juvenile court system (Juvenile Court Statistics 2000, 2004). “Juvenile Justice Procedures”                                                     “Page No. 7” According to the Juvenile Court Statistics 2000, report showed that involvement of  absence and cutting of classes (truancy), runaway and incorrigibility against parents’ control (ungovernability) peaked at age 15 or younger (Figure 1).

The report also showed that as the young people grows old; the liquor use is also increasing. Liquor offenses started to continuously peak during ages 16 and above (Figure 1). Furthermore, according to the report of the Juvenile Court Statistics 2000, there were a greater proportion of females in petitioned status offense cases. The reported delinquency cases of females are lower (Figure 2). There was also a similarity in the male and female proportions of truancy and incorrigibility against parents’ control (ungovernability) petitions to the overall population representation.

Cases of underage liquor consumption were concentrated in male population and cases of runaway were concentrated in female proportions. In the report for the overall representation of cases, there were dominantly more cases of underage liquor consumption over the white juvenile and extremely low representation in other three major juvenile cases (Figure 3) (Juvenile Court Statistics 2000, 2004). Corrections and Detentions of the Juvenile Offenders

The Office of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention of the Office of Justice Programs reported in 1990 that there were considerable deficiencies experienced by the imprisoned juvenile offenders. In order for the problem to be solved, in 1994, a national non profit organization known as the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators had developed a project. The project known as the Performance-based Standards created for the Juvenile Correction and Detention Facilities has set its goal.

The project aimed to solve the problems concerning the congested facilities, insufficient health and mental care, the high rate of suicidal cases and the high frequency of damages among the juvenile system staffs and the juvenile offenders. The Performance-based Standard for the Juvenile Correction and Detention Facilities is a project designed to identify and check the serious areas of performance to be able to do corresponding actions to correct the mistakes.

The result of this identification and monitoring of the serious areas is the development of the detection areas which are safer and more efficient. Many things were accomplished because of the creation of the Performance-based program. There was an establishment of a system wide collection of data. National performance of the standards and measurements were also established for the first time because of the implementation of the Performance-based Program for the Juvenile Correction and Detention Facilities.

Most of the states have adopted the Performance-based Program summing it all to fifteen states. Another thirteen states have adopted it to established sites that will be participated by voluntary basis. A centralized portal was placed at the Office of Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators to facilitate the system wide gathering of data from the states that have participated in the program. The areas to be reported in the system wide Performance-based Program include: safety, order, education, justice and mental health care (The US Department of Justice, 2004).

In conclusion, cooperation from all the institutions involved in the prevention and treatment of juvenile status offenses is the key for the success of the goals set by the  Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention of the Office of Justice Programs, United States Department of Justice. Constant communication that should start inside the family of a person should also be the first thing to consider before designing any strategy for prevention and treatment of the juvenile crimes.

It is further carried out in the schools were learning and education were achieved by the young people. Moreover, role of the community where the young adolescents interact with everyday is also essential for the prevention and treatment of juvenile offences. Proper care and love should be also given to the offenders to avoid them from resorting to the risk factors that could let them do again the crimes they have committed. Victim information should also be established.