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Juvenile Justice Program in the United States


The existing juvenile justice system in the United States is similar to the one for adults. The main goal is to intervene and correct delinquent behavior before it can become a major societal problem. The major stakeholders involved throughout the process include the police, correctional institutions, and courts. The major consequences outlined under the current system include youth courts, incarceration, community service, probation, and alternative schooling. When children below the age of 18 are imprisoned, they interact with individuals who have been engaged in different malpractices, including crime and murder.

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The outcome is that they become hardened and ready to commit other offenses. Using this kind of information, this paper indicates that there is a need for a superior juvenile justice program to empower more children to achieve their potential.

History and Development

Over the years, different ideas and practices have emerged from various jurisdictions to transform juvenile justice. Before the 18th century, juvenile delinquents received similar punishment as adults. The reasoning behind this practice was that the leaders treated individuals below the age of 8 as productive members of the society. The wave of industrialization resulted in new notions aimed at transforming the lives of children from poor backgrounds. A court ruling made in 1839 led to application of an idea called parens patrea (Young, Greer, & Church, 2017). The ultimate aim was to detain and rehabilitate children who had committed non-criminal activities.

From the year 1900, the United States established a new juvenile court in an attempt to empower all children to achieve their objectives. The 1960s resulted in harsher penalties and punishments for children who had committed serious crimes. However, the concept of deinstitutionalization and the use of community-based juvenile programs would not last for long. Towards the end of the 20th century, the US recorded increased cases of juvenile-related criminal activities (Kretschmar, Tossone, Butcher, & Marsh, 2018). This development catalyzed unforgiving policies to mitigate juvenile crime. The implementation and introduction of the Gun Free School Act (GFSA) is an example of a law that explains why American children face harsh punishment for serious crimes.


Administration, Management, and Supervision

The concept of administration fits into the proposed juvenile justice program. The ultimate goal is to propose and develop a new system that is capable of supporting more troubled children and empower them to lead high-quality lives, avoid crime, and achieve their potential. Stakeholders can also consider the importance of proper administrative mechanisms in learning organizations, religious institutions, and correctional facilities (Darnell & Schuler, 2015). Such an idea will promote proactive measures that seek to offer holistic support to young children who have committed various felonies.

Similarly, proper managerial practices will ensure that the government implements the suggested juvenile system or program successfully. Proper leadership strategies should be able to present superior philosophies and initiatives to guide delinquents instead of criminalizing them. Proper management procedures will ensure that guardians, parents, and human services professionals are involved to empower more children (Young et al., 2017). Emerging leadership and managerial theories have the potential to transform the situation and maximize the effectiveness of various mechanisms implemented to support troubled children in the society.

Supervision is a practice that all stakeholders can pursue to transform the outcomes of children involved in criminal behaviors. Professionals in the field of juvenile criminal justice can pursue this concept by introducing evidence-based ideas and concepts to transform the experiences of the targeted beneficiaries (Siegel & Welsh, 2017). Continuous supervision is an idea that can present better insights for improving the procedures and initiatives aimed at meeting the needs of juveniles involved in unlawful activities.

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Work Ethics and Culture

The success of the suggested juvenile justice program depends on the idea of work ethic. According to Siegel and Welsh (2017), work ethic is beneficial since it promotes diligence, professionalism, dedication, and commitment, thereby strengthening a person’s character. Human services providers focusing on the needs of traumatized children should embrace this concept in order to achieve their potential. Such an approach will make it easier for them to provide timely support, attention, and care to children who are at risk of engaging in felonious behaviors. They will collaborate with different stakeholders to achieve the intended objectives.

Similarly, these professionals should introduce the same concept to the targeted beneficiaries. Children who embrace the work ethic notion will engage in evidence-based practices, avoid criminal acts, and eventually change their behaviors for the better.

Juvenile delinquency is something that scholars cannot separate from culture. The American society has been associated with inappropriate cultural attributes, such as discrimination and injustice. Darnell and Schuler (2015) indicate that children from minority groups tend to receive harsher sentences or punishments in comparison with the ones from minority races. Additionally, most of the initiatives aimed at addressing the problem of juvenile delinquency are founded on various cultural attributes, including equality, harmony, empathy, unity, peace, and love. The introduction of appropriate values, ideas, and behaviors in a given culture is a strategy that is capable of supporting the above program.


The current American juvenile justice system seeks to minimize the number of children involved in crime by punishing offenders or putting them in rehabilitation institutions. Darnell and Schuler (2015) challenge this idea since the decision to incarcerate more young children only burdens taxpayers. The government should support the needs of all imprisoned individuals and ensure that they receive relevant education. Several initiatives are, therefore, needed to make the proposed program successful.

An effective juvenile justice system needs to bring together different stakeholders in an attempt to record evidence-based results. Some of them will include guardians, parents, community agencies, schools, and criminal justice institutions. This collaborative approach will ensure that proactive initiatives aimed at mitigating juvenile criminal acts are presented (Edwards, 2017). Prevention measures will encourage young people to engage in acceptable behaviors. More children will be willing to interact with their parents or human services providers and present their grievances or problems. Such a behavior can ensure that more individuals receive the right support and care.

The proposed juvenile justice program will emerge successful if family members focus on the needs of their children. Their involvement and engagement is something that can empower their children to promote the most appropriate behaviors. They will also provide evidence-based insights and ideas that can ensure that superior policies are introduced (Kretschmar et al., 2018). This is true since they understand the unique challenges and issues affecting children. Additionally, human services professionals will find it easier to collaborate with different family members to maximize the outcomes and experiences of the targeted beneficiaries.

Another proposal that is capable of supporting this program is the implementation of evidence-based services. The recommendation is that the stakeholders involved can present appropriate support systems and procedures that seek to support children from troubled backgrounds and meet their emerging needs. Leukefeld et al. (2017) indicate that most of the young individuals involved in criminal activities might have lived in challenging environments or families.

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The affected children could have encountered different predicaments, including domestic violence, inability to access relevant resources, and abuse. Such children might become disoriented and decide to engage in criminal activities. This understanding will result in superior programs that meet the unique needs of these disturbed young people instead of sending them to prison.

The role of superior policies is a concept that has the potential to make the proposed juvenile justice system successful. The government has a role to support evidence-based incentives or programs that focus on the holistic needs of all children. Such an approach will ensure that children receive adequate resources and support (Edwards, 2017). Throughout the criminal justice process, the ultimate aim should be to transform the lives of the affected children and make it possible for them to pursue their goals.

Finally, human services professionals should embrace the concept of work ethic and apply their philosophies to offer personalized services that meet the diverse needs of every child. Whenever pursing this objective, these practitioners should consider the beneficiaries’ cultural, social, economic, and religious attributes (Kretschmar et al., 2018). This knowledge will result in superior initiatives that will make it possible for the country to develop a better juvenile justice system that transforms the experiences of many juvenile delinquents.

Emerging Issue

The major issue that might arise from this program is ethical in nature. It is agreeable that parents are empowered to guide their young ones in accordance with their expectations. Some guardians and parents might be opposed to the inclusion of human services professionals as part of the proposed juvenile justice program. This means that the individuals will not allow other people to train their children even if they have committed criminal acts.

The emergence of such an issue should encourage human services professionals to act ethically and in accordance with the existing laws or rules. For instance, they should respect children’s rights and allow their parents to present their inputs. It is also appropriate to consider the existing provisions and regulations whenever providing the intended support (Leukefeld et al., 2017). Additionally, the ethical expectations of different stakeholders might diverge, thereby making it impossible for the program to deliver the intended benefits.

Constant collaboration with law enforcers and other stakeholders is an evidence-based practice that will address this ethical concern. This initiative will ensure that all procedures and activities do not challenge stipulated regulations and codes of conduct (Edwards, 2017). Sensitization processes can create the best environment for focusing on common goals and supporting the needs of all children in the country.

Concluding Summary

The above discussion has revealed that a proactive evidence-based juvenile justice program will empower more juvenile delinquents and make it easier for them to achieve their potential in life. These who have committed heinous crimes should be supported instead of been criminalized. Different stakeholders should come together to improve administrative and supervisory functions, address emerging ethical dilemmas, and focus on every cultural issue. Human services professionals should also collaborate with family members and law enforcers to deliver positive results. Consequently, the proposed program will address most of the challenges many juvenile delinquents continue to face and empower them to become successful adults.


Darnell, A. J., & Schuler, M. S. (2015). Quasi-Experimental study of functional family therapy effectiveness for juvenile justice aftercare in a racially and ethnically diverse community sample. Children and Youth Services Review, 50, 75-82. Web.

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Edwards, J. (2017). A just system? How punitive youth justice systems increase the risk of crime. Children Australia, 42(4), 233-239. Web.

Kretschmar, J. M., Tossone, K., Butcher, F., & Marsh, B. (2018). Examining the impact of a juvenile justice diversion program for youth with behavioral health concerns on early adulthood recidivism. Children and Youth Services Review, 91, 168-176. Web.

Leukefeld, C.G., Cawood, M., Wiley, T., Robertson, A.A., Fisher, J.H., Arrigona, N., … Marks, K. R. (2017). The benefits of community and juvenile justice involvement in organizational research. Journal of Juvenile Justice, 6(1), 112–124.

Siegel, L. J., & Welsh, B. C. (2017). Juvenile delinquency: The core (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Young, S., Greer, B., & Church, R. (2017). Juvenile delinquency, welfare, justice and therapeutic interventions: A global perspective. BJPsych Bulletin, 41(1), 21-29. Web.

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