View Full Version : The future of the Juvenile Justice System

02-13-2006, 07:20 AM
The Future of Juvenile Justice System
Reformers, however, have proposed four approaches to changing the juvenile justice network. Some state that the system has outlived its usefulness and should be incorporated into the adult criminal justice system. They claim that the juvenile court is not accomplishing its goals, and thus should cease to exist as a separate entity. Additionally, reformers have put forth that the juvenile justice system should adopt the balanced and restorative justice approach to crime. This views crime as a violation against a person and not the state. Under restorative justice, victims, offenders, and the community play equal roles in mending the harm done by the criminal offense, and offenders are held directly accountable to the victim and the community. Restorative justice reformers claim that this tactic is a more personal, caring method of working with youthful offenders.
The get-tough approach to juvenile courts suggests that increased waivers to adult court will decrease juvenile offenses and the public's fear of youth, and increase the public's sense of safety. A fourth proposal focuses on revitalizing the current system through a collaborative approach to fighting juvenile crime by including the police, probation, schools, courts, and treatment agencies in the justice process. The revitalization approach holds that juvenile court can be successful if immediate and appropriate sanctions are applied to delinquents, treatment and rehabilitative efforts are effective, and the public's confidence in the system is increased.
Based on current trends, it appears that the juvenile justice network will continue to operate as a separate entity, but only by adopting some of the reforms suggested. For example, several states have incorporated restorative justice into their juvenile court acts, have implemented policies that increase waivers to adult court, and have opened the justice system to outside opinions from schools, policing agencies, and treatment facilities. It should be noted, however, that the juvenile justice system will continue to deal with the ongoing issues of gangs, drugs, abuse, neglect, dependency, and the larger societal issues of race, class, and gender as they relate to delinquency.