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Drug War Effects On Juveniles

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The publication by Christina M. Gaudio is critical of the War on Drugs and focuses on its effects on juveniles. She takes time to outline the issues that are present with our current system, and specifically how the system is particularly unjust to juveniles. Gaudio details how the juvenile justice system operates state and federally, then she gives a brief history of the Drug War, the Drug Wars effect on Juveniles, its overall effectiveness, and possible solutions to what she sees as the problem. The Drug War is extremely costly to the taxpayer and is in many respects failing. It does not reduce drug use rates and drug related arrests have steadily increased since its inception. The Drug War has in many respects had an opposite effect of…show more content…
It is normal for youths to experiment with drugs. For a variety of reason juveniles will use drugs at some point in their young adulthood, it is abnormal to completely abstain from drug use. The immense fear of drugs, created by the Drug War, lead to strict laws and policies. Because of the panic and lack of proper study juveniles got caught up in the chaos. Gaudio cites a Justice Policy institute report that states, that by incarcerating youth they are being set back and inhibited from getting and remaining employed, as well ad inhibiting their educational progress (p. 216). Incarcerating youth for drug offences is an incredible detriment to their lives and can end up having permanent effects. By removing a juvenile from society and locking them in prison you are taking away their lives, their family and friends, and everything they had every known. Juveniles are often subject to harsh facilities and exposure to adult criminals who can foster the juveniles into worse criminals than they were to begin with. Likewise incarcerating youth exposes them to violence form their peers and abuse from those in charge of them. Incarcerating youth is effectively demoralizing them. When they are reintroduced to society they have not learned and gained skills like their peers have, they are set back years yet expected to be able to o the same things as their peers. By punishing a…show more content…
Gaudio states “Early reformers, convinced that society’s duty was not to confine youth, but rather to save them.” (p. 213). Drug laws are far too strict and based on moral panic and not factual information. Drug use prior to the drug war was not seen as an issue and even though crime rates have been dropping since the 1980s, when asked, a majority of the population will say that crime rates are increasing. These responses are based on perception, because the media and politics put fear into the perceptions of the public and they play on that fear to gain views and votes. Panic and fear has created harsh drug policies that are a detriment to society and those people they are enforced upon. Everyone should be given a second chance and this applies especially to juveniles. Although legally a juvenile becomes an adult at 18 studies have shown that the human brain does not fully develop until the age of 21. Because juveniles are less developed and historically make poor decisions because of lack of wisdom and experience they should not be locked away, but rather mentored and guided on the proper path. Such as a well structured home and community would develop a child to grow into a functioning member of society so too should the juvenile justice system. Rehabilitation methods should be the primary action taken for any non-violent crime but especially for juveniles
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