Analyze both the arguments for and against juvenile probation. When should parole or probation be available to a juvenile offender and when should it not? What new policies could be adopted to help ensure that juvenile probation or parole are successful?
Juvenile probation is a sentence given to those aged under the age of 18 years who have been found guilty of committing a crime by a court of law. Juvenile probation is one of the most common correction programs and in 2009 nearly 550,000 juveniles were placed on probation across the U.S. Juvenile probation is a common judicial decision for those who have never been found guilty of an offence before and for those who are unlikely to offend again. Juvenile probation is used as an alternative to placing the juvenile in a residential justice program. Those serving juvenile probation are required to fulfill a public service for the period of their probation and are subject to a number of conditions. Should the juvenile not adhere to their probation conditions or commit a crime whilst they are on probation then it is very likely that they will be placed in a residential program.
One of the chief arguments for using a juvenile probation system is that it prevents children and young adults who have never entered the criminal justice system from being exposed to prison life. Studies have proven that being immersed in a criminal environment can greatly influence future criminal activity of those placed in that environment. Indeed one of the biggest risks factors to being sent to an institution is to have previously been sent to an institution. Reducing recidivism levels is something which is a priority for both juvenile and adult criminal justices services. One way to break this cycle of incarceration and reoffending is to prevent the individual from ever entering the prison system in the first place and probation serves this purpose. Juvenile probation also provides a means of ensuring vulnerable young adults get access to services with the potential to be hugely beneficial to their well-being and therefore reduce their risk of committing further crime.
One of the most substantial arguments against juvenile probation is that it is seen as an easy option for juvenile offenders and as such probation is not seen to promote justice for the victims. The public become aggrieved when the punishment does not appear to fit the crime. Another argument against probation is that the system is only as good as its process and probation services. There are an increasing number of reports about juveniles, some of whom have committed serious crimes, going missing whilst on juvenile probation. This is only going to serve to fuel the dissidents of this common judicial process.
Whilst it is possible that there is a benefit to looking to correction programs around the world, most countries globally have adopted some type of probation into their justice systems. Probation must be present in a civilization which believes that the role of the justice system is to rehabilitate as well as to punish.
. Puzzanchera, C. and Kang, W. (2011). "Easy Access to Juvenile Court Statistics: 1985-2009.