Juvenile detention center commonly referred to as a juvie, is a high security residential service facility purposely designed for juvenile delinquents. In these facilities, the young adults who are barely 18 years of age are provided with special services both legal, social and psychological prior to their court hearings or their designated placements to specially created long term juvenile delinquents programs. These facilities are designed to manage the youngsters involved in acts of indecent conduct or instances that relates to criminal activities. The different court systems designed for juvenile delinquents are responsible for sentencing or holding juveniles into certain facilities or programs depending on the nature and or intensity of the crime committed. The main function of any juvenile detention facility is to monitor and manage the behavior of juvenile deliquescent who at some extend may pose negatives threats not only to themselves alone but also to the larger society in equal amounts. Such facilities supervise their conduct and to a greater extend tries to transform the juvenile detainees into more responsible individuals.
Under the juvenile detention centers, two facilities exist i.e. secure confinement and secure detention. The juveniles are normally held in the secure detention for a short time as they wait for hearings, trials or placement decisions. This is done to ensure that the community remains safe and that the juvenile appears in court when required to answer to the charges. Sometimes it is referred to as juvenile hall and is used to keep juvenile delinquents. Secure confinement is only for those juveniles who have been committed to custody by the court. It is a correctional facility used to hold a juvenile for either some months or years depending on the crime that he/she has committed. It is meant for those juveniles who may pose threat to either the court process or to public safety (Ferro, 2003 p.89).
A Juvenile detention center performs several functions, which are rehabilitative in nature like education. The center should offer at least secondary school curriculum to create an opportunity for the juveniles to understand themselves better, the world around them and acquire skills that can help them secure employment in the future. In addition to education, these facilities also offer mental health services. Such centers should adopt an intervention strategy that works best for every youth who has been enrolled in the treatment plan. Services like transition planning, personal and group counseling, medication management, family intervention are very crucial in mental health treatment. Another key function is the special education especially for the incarcerated juveniles. This is necessitated by the fact that the educational facilities in most juvenile detention centers are designed just as the education facilities in the community and thereby do not cater for those who have special needs (Rodriguez, 2004 p.287).
The staff who work in the juvenile detention centers are professionals from different fields. There are teachers charged with teaching and disciplining the students. The healthcare professionals like the doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, nutritionists among others are also there to ensure that the physical and mental well being of the juveniles is well taken care of. The police and other discipline forces also work in the juvenile detention centers and their core responsibility is to ensure that the detained juveniles are always disciplined and that they keep the established rules and regulations.
Juvenile facilities and long term deliquescent confinements have always suffered two major concerns. These are major ineffectiveness in delivering the initially promised services because of poor logistics management. The other major concern of these juvenile detention facilities is highly over-crowding rates. Statistics reveal that juvenile cases have been enormously increased in the last 15 years. This has been quantified to an annual additional increase of 5% to the immediate subsequent year. In fact, this has contributed to overpopulation and thus overcrowding in such juvenile detention programs. Overcrowding poses major threats especially in a juvenile detention or correctional facility. In many instances, overcrowding leads to the development of criminal gangs within the correctional facilities. This combined with the massive peer pressure experienced by youngsters inside such facilities has been pinpointed as the number one cause of the numerous violent acts experienced in detention and correctional facilities (Glueck, 2000 p.79).
The majority of the detention centers are not as effective as they are expected. Some of them do not even have the ability to offer basic educational, mental health or rehabilitative services, which are the key reasons why they were established. Generally, the living conditions in most juvenile detention centers are unfavorable and uncomfortable at all. Many juveniles suffer in silence and because they know that they committed a crime to be detained, they usually do not have confidence to express their feelings and demand for their rights. Other countries are not different from the United States of America because the number of juvenile detainees is increasing every year. The consequences are also the same because as the number of juveniles increases, there is a strain on the available resources. The development impact in the detention centers varies depending on the way the juvenile is handled. Those who are treated well feel that they are loved and they easily accept correction. On the other hand, those who are mistreated may feel neglected and may forever feel guilty of what they have done and may even sometimes commit suicide if they do not receive proper counseling. Youths are very fragile and can easily be influenced by peer pressure to commit crimes and if found guilty, they are tempted to commit suicide or cause harm to the public (Ferro, 2003 p.132).
Minors who are suspected to engage in criminal activities are taken into juvenile detention centers. The police pick them up after their suspicion of criminal engagements. Juveniles are normally taken to the detention centers if the parent cannot be located for him or her to claim the youth’s responsibility. Children who might be a threat to others in the society are also taken to the detention centers to be kept under watch. In the detention, centers there are many activities that normally take place. In the detention center, youths are expected to do exercises each day. Some detention centers provide sporting facilities. Other detention centers allow the youths to go for outdoor exercises (Ferro, 2003 p.145). Parents and relatives of the detained youth are allowed to visit them every week with approval of the detention administration. Girls and boys take their meals in the cafeteria together. In the evenings, they are allowed to watch Televisions. Juveniles in the detention centers are allowed their different religious groups. They also attend 12-step meetings that are brought in by the voluntary groups.
In the juvenile detention centers security is provided in that before a detention of the child takes, inspection is carried out to check if they metals such as guns and explosives. Before the visitors are allowed into the detention centers, they are checked to ascertain their relationship with the detained child. Security officers also provide security in and within the detention centers (Rodriguez,2004 p.57)
Several youth violence prevention programs are being used to curb youthful crimes in the US. Recent evaluations have indicated that the US government spends a lot in youth violence prevention ineffectively. The various programs appear to be effective but upon implementation, they prove otherwise. The current promising program is the Missouri model. The Missouri model is the vital model that the US is anticipating to use to prevent the increasing juvenile crimes perpetrated by ex-offenders (Glueck, 2000 p.109).
Even if earlier training schools meet the standards of correcting juvenile offenders, the result on incarceration is disappointment in terms of both future youth success and recidivism. Although correction facilities are in various states, records have shown that 70 to 80 percent of the juveniles released from youth correction facilities are re-arrested with new offenses within an estimate of two to three years. A small number of juvenile ex-offenders show back to high school but their job performance and the overall future success is under jeopardy. This is so much unacceptable because the abusive conditions that compromise the safety of public and the development of youth are bad enough in addition to the price tagged to correction of youth offenders estimated at $6 billion per annun (Rodriguez,2004 p.89).
The current juvenile detention centres do not base their activities on the scientific research. The security and health of the juvenile detenees in most detention centres are also not upto date. My opinion is that, the detention centres need to carry out their activities based on the scientific research. This will ensure that there is adequate rehabilitation of the juveniles also. The juvenile centres also need to consider that the juveniles are future generations and thus their healthy and safety are paramount. The detention centres should employ adequate security and medical personnel.
Missouri model is a system that was introduced in the State of California for the sake of correcting Juvenile offenders. The various training schools in the United States of America have been failing but Missouri has effective due to its special approach which include the rehabilitation and training Juvenile offenders on how to start a new life after prison. It also gives professional education to offenders while in custody.
Missouri model offers promising approach for juvenile offenders’ correction. Missouri agencies have produced promising results without breaking the national budget. In addition, Missouri juvenile offenders have proved successful in their life after prison. The results of this model are positive youths, impressive safety records and lower recidivism which make Missouri State as compared to other States of the US. Home-based intervention of youth correction serves better in correcting them than the routine incarceration. The Policy pendulums show a promising future for the US juvenile groups as they are geared towards reforms and the rest of the world since it meets the scientific standards of rehabilitating juvenile criminals.
Ferro, Jeffrey. Juvenile crime. New York, N.Y.: Facts on File, 2003. Print.
Glueck, Sheldon, and Eleanor Touroff Glueck. Unraveling juvenile delinquency. New York: Commonwealth Fund, 2000. Print.
McShane, Marilyn D., and Franklin P. Williams. Encyclopedia of juvenile justice. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage, 2003. Print.
Rodriguez, Joseph. Juvenile. New York, NY: PowerHouse Books, 2004. Print.
Tappan, Paul W.. Juvenile delinquency. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 2009. Print.