Crimes committed by juvenile offenders are prevalent. Due to maturity and age, juvenile offenders are often treated differently than adult offenders. There is more of a focus on rehabilitation rather than just punishment. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program (UCR), juvenile offenders comprised 26% of all property crime arrests and 16% of all violent crime arrests in 2008. The type of juvenile rehabilitation programs used depends on the resources in the area, and the crime committed by the individual.
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One common type of juvenile rehabilitation program is drug treatment. Juvenile offenders that are involved in drug crimes may be processed by a different court, a drug court. Completing drug treatment, as well as complying with random drug tests, passing the drug tests, and attending alcoholics anonymous meetings are sentenced by the court. After completing inpatient treatment, ongoing outpatient treatment generally continues for a year or so.
Educational programs provide youth offenders with a feeling of hope, as well as a path to success. They can see that there are other options out there rather than a life of crime. Education is a fundamental tenant of any juvenile rehabilitation program. This includes the opportunity for the juvenile offender to obtain a GED or a high school diploma. In addition, many facilities allow them to take classes to earn community college credits.
Vocational training is also often part of rehabilitation, as an additional component to formal education. Part of that training includes an apprenticeship in addition to training. One popular training program teaches building and carpentry skills. Learning a trade can provide a youth with a lot of opportunities outside of a life of crime.
Individual and family counselling is an integral part of just about any rehabilitation program. Individual counselling is used as a way to address the concerns and needs of the youth offender. Teenagers have different hormonal and physiological issues than do adults. Also, they might have lingering issues from childhood that may need to be sorted out. Family counselling adds another helpful dimension. Family members, as well as the juvenile, are shown ways in which to motivate the youth in a positive way. Also, conflict resolution is explored.
A fairly new advent in the criminal justice field is the creation of programs that focus on hate crimes. The city of Los Angeles has created a program that is aimed towards those that have committed hate crimes. It’s called Juvenile Offenders Learning Tolerance. The goal is to re-educate those youth that have recently committed a hate crime.
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