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The U.S. Juvenile Justice System

Historical development of juvenile justice system

The progressive Era reformists saw the institution of the juvenile justice system in the better part of 1899, prior to which young offenders were tried and punished in adult justice systems. Within the time range 1968 – 1974, the Supreme Court overturned the usual trend by giving children substantial amounts of immunity as laid out in the Bill of Rights, which was again embossed by the Legislature through the enactment of Juvenile Delinquency Prevention and Control Act of 1968 (Parry, 2010, p. 78).

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Today the Juvenile Justice System faces many challenges with delinquent youths that have problems with substance abuse. Substance abuse is a pattern of substance that usually leads to frequent or serious problems. In the US substance use and abuse among adolescents population accounts for significant morbidity and mortality. Alcohol and tobacco are the usual drugs of choice among adolescents, followed by marijuana, stimulants, hallucinogens and inhalants. Further research states that whites and African Americans continue to use illicit drugs at comparable rates in all age group categories. However, whites seem to use more illicit drugs than African Americans in the 12-17age group category.

Causes of juvenile delinquencies

Unraveling the causes of drug abuse among minors is the one most important way of preventing the young ones from being involved in drug and substance abuse. There are four key domains through which juvenile delinquents can be identified: the minor’s personality, family, mental health and substance abuse. Those minors who have not received proper formal education are highly susceptible to delinquent behaviors; the same applies to the minors who did not enjoy a loving, joyful, and caring upbringing from their parents, in both cases the minors in question vent their uncontrolled aggression by engaging themselves in uncouth practices. Such misconducts may be in the form of substance abuse, sexual immorality, use of obscene language, and robbery. Therefore, new juvenile justice programs ought to rise up to the challenge in curbing such juvenile misconducts (Broemmel, 2011, p. 1).

The impact of court decisions to juvenile justice system

Over the past couple of decades, measures towards containing uncouth minor conducts have spiraled from preventive mechanisms and dynamics, through rehabilitation to crime control, and surprisingly enough the current exponential growth trends in gang violence call for a concerted effort in the legislative front in curbing the vice. Although, by the 1960s it was quite evident that juvenile offenders were deprived of their fundamental rights, several adjustments have been made by the states with respect to the system’s jurisdictional authority, sentencing, corrections programming, confidentiality of records and court hearings, and juvenile involvement in court hearings – thus, assuring juvenile victims of optimal security on their personal rights in the justice system (Manfredi, 2000, p. 1).

To save a child from becoming a drug addict and a criminal, the legislature may certainly provide for the salvation of the child, if its parents and guardians are unable or unwilling to do so – a predominant feature of the case study ‘Commonwealth v. Fisher’ (Parry, 2010, p. 78).

Preventive and rehabilitative programs in the juvenile justice domain

In a bid to reduce the up-surging juvenile delinquency trends several preventive and rehabilitative measures have been put in place both at the national level and at the basic units of the society – family level. Such measures include but are not limited to; an unwavering federal support to both private and public initiatives towards juvenile justice and delinquency prevention programs curtailing the expulsion and suspension of students from schools, aiding runaway and homeless children and strengthening those families which have been torn apart by recurrent juvenile delinquencies. All these measures and programs are aimed at according a conducive and accommodative environment in which the juvenile delinquent can reconstruct his/her mental state and attitude for the better (Miller, 2010, p. 1).

A progressive measure towards the prevention of juvenile offenses

In as much as the federal support is needed in the fight against juvenile delinquency – especially in the common form of drug abuse, it is incumbent upon the society to restructure its mode of interpersonal relations however difficult this may seem, this follows from the fact that most juvenile delinquents have been victims of either social or mental abuse, and of necessity, it would require authentic integrity in interpersonal relations for the society to heal.

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Reference List

Broemmel, M. (2011). What Are the Causes of Juvenile Delinquency? Web.

Manfredi, C. (2000). The Supreme Court and Juvenile Justice. Web.

Miller, E. (2010). Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974. Web.

Parry, D. (2010). Essential Reading in Juvenile Justice, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.

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