Arguably, in the past decades researchers have established program modes and intervention strategies that will help in promoting social development, as well as reducing juvenile delinquent behaviors. These programs and strategies have various objectives and goals in several states. Preventing juvenile delinquent behaviors saves life of young people from being wasted, prevents adult crimes in the future, as well as reducing the burden of crime on society and the victim. Perhaps, it costs the city a lot of dollars to prosecute, arrest, treat and incarcerate juvenile offenders. Hence, the use of delinquency-prevention programs saves a lot of taxpayers’ money, which is channeled to other development programs.
Probation, courts, and diversion programs across various states employ strategies that are different in working together with young adults and the youth charged with crime related offenses. Some of this prevention and diversion programs employed include probation, diversion programs, restorative justice, teen courts, school programs, breaking cycle programs, as well as community assessment team. These programs have goals and objectives that are streamlined towards the reduction and prevention of juvenile delinquent behaviors. Moreover, each program has its participants and its impacts on the youth vary (Howell, 2003).
Breaking cycle is one of the programs used to prevent juvenile delinquent behaviors in society. In fact, it is basically aimed at reducing and preventing re-offending behaviors among the youth. The main intend of this program is to help in preventing juvenile delinquent behaviors that escalate in society, these behaviors include substance abuse, gang involvement, as well; as criminal behaviors. Moreover, the program was objectively introduced to increase accessibility to community support, increase successful probations, and improve peer and family relationship. Breaking the cycle program incorporates some components such as prevention and improving the offenders’ behaviors. In prevention components, the youth at risk are the main targets; this implies that programs are developed to prevent those youths at risk from becoming offenders (Howell, 2003). Moreover, the improvement aspect of breaking cycle program is that it response to juvenile delinquent offenders through the continuum of alternative treatments and graduated sanctions. Hence, its main goals are reducing the percentage of minors which are at risk, improving juvenile justice, and breaking the substance abuse cycle and family issues. The core beliefs of this program is that crime can be prevented in the future by breaking the juvenile delinquent behaviors.
The participants in breaking cycles program include the youth who are at the age of 5-17. In fact, these groups are the main beneficiary through the mentoring process, and health established relationship. Other participants include mentors and criminal justice system. The government departments that are part of the main participants include Department of Correctional Service, Attorney-General Department, as well as Department of Communities and Families. Parents, staff, and juvenile justice are also part of the program, in that they are the closest socializing agents to the youth (Howell, 2003).
The youths under these programs receive various services that will help them change their delinquent behaviors. The services include problem solving skills, community-based treatment, positive recreation, therapy, case management, positive motivation, age-appropriate activities, as well as mentoring.
Another program is the Community Assessment Team (CAT), this program offers a good example of how assessment and screening practices on the juvenile have been introduced in diversion programs. In fact, the program better targets the youth offenders, as well as their families on intervention of crime. The CAT (Community Assessment Team) is one of the multi-agency prevention and intervention programs, which encompasses greater states. The program is designed to fit families with youth aged 5-18n years old, who in one way or another are at the risk of becoming offenders, or exposed to dangers of progressing to juvenile justice system. The Community Assessment Team operates in various education areas in the entire state. The multi-disciplinary group is made up of social, health, and education professionals. Community Assessment Team is crucial in helping the youth who are at the risk of continuing in, involved with, the juvenile form of justice. The program also deals with issues such as truancy issues, home problems, violent relationships, mental health problems, delinquent behaviors in school, as well as abusers of drugs and alcohol (Myers, 2007).
The main goal of the CAT program are to teach families on how to receive and access services in the society. Moreover, it emphasizes on unique needs and strengths of the youth in the community. The CAT targets the youth at risk and provides them with intervention strategies on delinquent behaviors. The objective of the program includes reducing and preventing crime, supporting the community, improving relationships, as well as improving the behaviors of the youth. The core belief of the Community Assessment Team program is that assessment, identification, and screening marks the beginning of an effective intervention strategy towards preventing and reducing juvenile delinquent behaviors (Myers, 2007). Hence, the program has the potential of redirecting the youth from taking the negative path in life, to focusing on a positive and health life path.
The Community Assessment Team program has several participants. The main participants are the youth who are at the age of 5-18, and are at the risk of progressing to the justice system that deals with juvenile. Other participants who make up the team include family members, case managers, drug and alcohol specialist, teachers, therapists, parent educators, as well as probation officers. The participants work together is ensuring that the goals, beliefs, and objectives of the program are achieved.
In order to accomplish its goals, beliefs and objectives the CAT program provides family-focused and home based services to the youth at risk, as well as their families. The services that the youth receive include intervention counseling, assessments, referral services, prevention counseling, and therapy. In most cases, youth at risk and their families receive referral services from the courts, probation agencies, community-based organizations, schools, and law enforcement agencies (Howell, 2003). The program provides diverse services that are all-rounded to the family and youth at risk. Additionally, family and youth are screened on cases of drug and alcohol abuse then a specialist dealing with drugs and alcohol carries out assessment. The services offered by CAT program emphasizes on unique requirements of children while providing informative and supportive services to their families. Undeniably, the supportive measures help families , and the youth to function well and increase their protective mechanisms. Hence, CAT program stabilizes crisis, redirect the youth at risk from negative behaviors, as well as facilitating positive development (Myers, 2007).
Breaking cycles and Community Assessment Team Programs are among the many juvenile intervention, diversion or prevention programs in the city. Analytically, Community Assessment Team is more effective at reducing juvenile crimes in the city. The CAT program is to some extent a whole-rounded program that incorporates several stakeholders from different spheres of youth socialization. Moreover, the assessment, counseling, therapies, and screening of the youth and their families are crucial in preventing crime. Undeniably, family is one of the strongest agents of socialization; hence, its incorporation in the program is very crucial. Families play a tremendous role in shaping the behaviors of the children; therefore, involving their families in every aspect is a booster to crime reduction process.
Howell, J. (2003). Preventing and Reducing Juvenile Delinquency: A Comprehensive
Framework. California: Sage
Myers, J. (2007). Prevention and Diversion Programs. London: Wiley