Early Involvement In The Juvenile Justice System

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The juvenile justice system is used to deal with youth (primarily under 18) who have committed a crime, this is handled through police, courts, and correctional involvement. The main goal is rehabilitation vs punishment and involves many systems such as probation officers, social workers, the police, and the courts. It had been found that juveniles with involvement in the juvenile courts often suffer from mental health problems and is often the source of their delinquency. “Approximately 50–70 % of youth involved in the juvenile justice system (JJS; about 1.4 of 2.4 million adolescents annually; have a diagnosable mental health condition and rates of psychiatric disorder tend to be higher among residential or detention facilities than at probation…show more content…
If they receive assistance, some are then discharged without continued treatment, without treatment they may continue to a path of delinquency and, eventually, adult criminality (Hammond, 2007). Early intervention can “break the cycle” and prevent juveniles from committing future crimes. Crime rate have been falling over the past decade, juvenile arrest is at a 30yr low. “The National Center for Juvenile Justice (NCJJ) found in its latest periodic national report on offenders and victims that the number of killings committed by youth under 18 is at the lowest point in at least three decades” (Smith, 2015). The reasoning behind the drop is that we are sending juveniles to residential treatment over incarceration, which is more in line with the goal of rehabilitation over punishment. Michael Orlando is the court director for Fairfield County Juvenile Court, he reported that we are now treating juvenile offenders in a case management approach, employing social workers, as opposed to the punishment model, this is different than how we treat adults. He also reported that juveniles only get sent to a detention center if they are a harm to themselves or others. I think today we have a better understanding of mental health and how incarceration is not the answer we still have a long way to go and more to discover, therefore research is critical. It is also very important that social workers, teachers, law enforcement, the courts, corrections etc. are trained in mental health awareness because sometimes it is life or death for these
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