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The Pros and Cons of Juvenile Correction Alternatives

1. Introduction

The number of juveniles in detention centers has increased dramatically over the past few decades. In 1975, there were approximately 7,500 juveniles in detention centers across the United States. By 1995, that number had jumped to nearly 100,000 (Snyder & Sickmund, 2006). The increase in the number of juveniles in detention is due to a variety of factors, including an increase in juvenile crime, changes in law and sentencing guidelines, and an overall toughening of the juvenile justice system.

While the use of detention centers for juveniles has become more common, there is growing evidence that these facilities are not always the best option for dealing with juvenile offenders. In fact, there is a growing movement to develop and implement alternative programs for juvenile offenders that are more effective and less costly than traditional detention centers.

2. Types of juvenile correction alternatives

There are a variety of alternative programs that have been developed to deal with juvenile offenders. These programs include probation, foster care, group homes, wilderness programs, therapeutic schools, and institutional corrections programs. Each of these programs has its own advantages and disadvantages that will be discussed below.

Probation is one of the most commonly used alternatives to juvenile detention. Probation allows a juvenile offender to remain in the community under the supervision of a probation officer. The probation officer will work with the juvenile and his or her family to develop a plan that will address the issues that led to the juvenile’s involvement in crime. If the juvenile completes the probationary period without any further incidents, he or she will be released from probation without any further penalties. However, if the juvenile violates the terms of his or her probation, he or she may be required to serve time in a detention center. Probation is typically used for first-time offenders who have committed minor crimes.

Foster care is another alternative to juvenile detention. Foster care involves placing a juvenile offender in a foster home with a family that has been trained to work with at-risk youth. The foster family will provide the juvenile with a stable home environment and work with him or her on issues such as anger management and conflict resolution. Foster care is typically used for juveniles who have been involved in minor crimes and who do not have any serious behavioral problems.

Group homes are another alternative to juvenile detention. Group homes are small residential facilities that house between six and twelve juveniles who have been involved in criminal activity. The juveniles in group homes are typically between the ages of 14 and 18 and have committed serious crimes such as robbery or assault. Group homes provide residents with a structured living environment and 24-hour supervision. Staff members at group homes work with residents on issues such as anger management, drug abuse prevention, and conflict resolution.

Wilderness programs are another alternative to juvenile detention. Wilderness programs are typically outdoor education or therapy programs that last between two weeks and six months. Wilderness programs use survival skills training as a way to teach life skills such as teamwork, problem solving, and decision making. Wilderness programs are typically used for juveniles who have been involved in minor crimes and who do not have any serious behavioral problems.

Therapeutic schools are another alternative to juvenile detention. Therapeutic schools are private schools that provide specialized education and therapy for students who have emotional or behavioral problems. Therapeutic schools typically have small class sizes and a low student-to-teacher ratio. Students in therapeutic schools receive individualized attention and services that are designed to meet their unique needs. Therapeutic schools are typically used for juveniles who have been involved in minor crimes and who have serious behavioral problems.

Institutional corrections programs are another alternative to juvenile detention. Institutional corrections programs are long-term residential treatment programs that are typically located in a prison or jail. These programs are designed for juveniles who have been involved in serious crimes and who have a history of violence or drug abuse. Institutional corrections programs provide residents with a structured living environment and 24-hour supervision. Staff members at these facilities work with residents on issues such as anger management, drug abuse prevention, and conflict resolution.

3. Institutional corrections programs

Institutional corrections programs are long-term residential treatment programs that are typically located in a prison or jail. These programs are designed for juveniles who have been involved in serious crimes and who have a history of violence or drug abuse. Institutional corrections programs provide residents with a structured living environment and 24-hour supervision. Staff members at these facilities work with residents on issues such as anger management, drug abuse prevention, and conflict resolution.

There are two types of institutional corrections programs: secure facilities and non-secure facilities. Secure facilities are typically located in a prison or jail and are designed for juveniles who have committed serious crimes or who are deemed to be a danger to the community. Non-secure facilities are typically located in a group home or wilderness program and are designed for juveniles who have committed less serious crimes and who do not pose a threat to the community.

4. The effectiveness of these alternatives

The effectiveness of alternative programs has been the subject of much debate. Some proponents of alternative programs argue that they are more effective than traditional detention centers because they provide juveniles with the opportunity to receive treatment for the underlying issues that led to their involvement in crime. Others argue that alternative programs are not as effective as detention centers because they do not provide juveniles with the level of structure and supervision that is necessary to prevent them from re-offending.

There is no definitive answer to the question of whether alternative programs are more effective than traditional detention centers. However, there is some evidence to suggest that alternative programs may be more effective than detention centers in certain cases. For example, a study by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) found that probation was more effective than incarceration in reducing recidivism rates for juvenile offenders (Aos et al., 2001). In addition, a study by the U.S. Department of Justice found that therapeutic schools were more effective than traditional schools in reducing recidivism rates for juvenile offenders (Lipsey et al., 2002).

5. Conclusion

The use of detention centers for juveniles has become increasingly common over the past few decades. However, there is growing evidence that these facilities are not always the best option for dealing with juvenile offenders. In fact, there is a growing movement to develop and implement alternative programs for juvenile offenders that are more effective and less costly than traditional detention centers.

While there is no definitive answer to the question of whether alternative programs are more effective than traditional detention centers, there is some evidence to suggest that they may be more effective in certain cases. Therefore, it is important

FAQ

The main problems with juvenile detention centers are that they are often overcrowded, understaffed, and lack resources. Additionally, juveniles in detention centers are often subject to physical and sexual abuse, and are at risk of becoming involved in gangs.

Some alternative methods of dealing with young offenders include community-based programs, restorative justice practices, and diversion programs.

Community-based programs have been shown to be more effective than detention in reducing crime and recidivism rates. Restorative justice practices have also been shown to be effective in reducing recidivism rates, but there is less research on their effectiveness in reducing crime rates. Diversion programs have mixed results, but overall tend to be less effective than community-based programs or restorative justice practices.

The potential downsides of implementing these alternatives include the cost of setting up and running the programs, as well as the risk that some offenders will not comply with the program requirements and will reoffend.

The best way to implement these changes on a large scale would be through a combination of government funding and private philanthropy.

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