Violence by and against children is completely unacceptable and against their fundamental rights. It is imperative that institutions and government agencies ensure they design policies, programs and initiatives that are efficient and progressive not only by preventing juvenile delinquency, but more significantly by protecting the society from errant delinquents. Many theorists and scholars have placed more emphasis in drafting these policies to reflect a social approach to the problem of juvenile delinquency rather than adopting a judicial approach. It is a fundamental obligation not only to the criminal justice system, but also to the society at large to prevent juvenile delinquency. The national government and the United Nations have initiated and adopted a number of instruments which articulate measures to protect the society, and ensure the well-being of juveniles. This brings forth two cardinal yet competing interests. Governments and stakeholders should be able to strike a delicate balance by finding the cardinal nexus between these two essential needs of the society.
The juvenile crime control system has for a very long time struggled with these two competing interests through placing concerns for public safety over behavioral change of the juvenile. The need to ensure that violators of the law are faced with the full force of the law is commendable. However, policies and programs for the constructive behavioral change of delinquent youths should be given space and time to bring forth the requisite impact. In order to address the long-term goal of keeping the society safe and secure, it is significant to alter the trajectory that juvenile delinquents take in their teenage years. This averts any chances of these youths developing into full-blown criminal minds thus terrorizing the society in the future.
The Significance of Crime Control Policy Analysis and Evaluation
It is desirable, and indeed encouraged, that the concerned agencies should understand the significance of having evaluations and analyses for adopted programs. This is because it provides the answers as to why such policies get drafted and what they seek to achieve. More significantly, such an evaluation provides the agency with an opportunity to examine itself on whether it is fulfilling its statutory mandate or not. An evaluation exercise has a lot of benefits that are inherent in the nature of this exercise. To begin with, it measures performance of the policy or performance. Indeed, it will provide tangible evidence that the society is pumping resources into a program that either benefits the society or not. As a result, it informs the agency to channel their meager resources to performing programs.
The essence of this exercise it to demonstrate what works and what does not, therefore, informing the concerned agency where to improve. An evaluation also enables the agency to comprehend whether the community and donors of programs are getting their money’s worth. For example, if a program that seeks to protect the society from delinquent youth by altering their behaviors is a success, the agency needs to share this information with its donor patterns or financers and the local community. This information will not only be instrumental in attracting more resources to the program, but more fundamentally, in assuring the current financers that they money is being used prudently by supporting a worthwhile cause. Furthermore, carrying out an evaluation enables the community and audiences around whom are in a position to support the program to take notice. For example, a juvenile justice crime control agency would be interested in receiving support from the local community, their leaders, associations, law enforcement agencies, the legislature and the state. This is possible by carrying out an evaluation that displays a program to be providing impeccable quality of service and customer satisfaction. Apart from helping the concerned agency improve in their efficiency, effectiveness and productivity, an evaluation exercise is significant because agencies are able to share critical information with each other about programs that are productive and which ones are not. This saves task payers a lot of resources that would be used in experimenting some of the programs in various agencies before they determine the ideal or suitable policy or program.
Prevention of Juvenile Delinquent Policy and Programs
Prevention, in this context, entails a policy framework that uses community-based activities to ensure young people are not involved in criminal behavior. As a result, it averts a situation whereby the criminal justice system would have to be involved in correcting their behavior. Such programs are usually implemented by a juvenile correction agency with the support of schools, public health agencies, social services agencies and mental health agencies among others. The juvenile crime control agencies are fundamentally involved in their activities with the help of some of the local law enforcement agencies. The focus of these multi-agency efforts lead by the juvenile justice agency is to the youths who are vulnerable of being delinquents, but have not yet been referred to law enforcement agencies for them to take the requisite actions of punishing the committed offences. In essence, prevention policies seek to implement an efficient strategy to provide solution for countering and curing signs of juvenile behavior before they become full-blown features of the juvenile. Such a system can be developed and implemented to become a complete success. This would eliminate the need to have agencies with the sole responsibility of dealing with delinquent behavior. Indeed, the question that lingers in the minds of many stakeholders is how to transform them to become completely successful. This means making them productivity, cost-efficient and to produce positive outcomes on juvenile behavior.
There is a wide consensus among scholars and criminologists theorists that the early-phase of intervention constituents the ideal approach of prevent delinquent behavior, among the youth. It is cardinal to note that prevention requires collective efforts. Organizational, governmental, community and individual efforts are supposed to be synchronized to ensure the success of any preventive programs or policies. Different jurisdictions use different programs, methods and policies to ensure that the youth are prevented from breaking the law and learning criminal behavior. One policy that a nation or state can adopt is punitive prevention. This entails a program design to educate youngsters of the harsh consequences of breaking the law. The intention is to frighten the youngster and thus deter him or her from even thinking about engaging in acts which are criminal in nature. It also involves demonstrating to the youngsters the negative implications that the offense has on the community and the affected victims. The youths should understand the existing nexus between punishment, reformation and integration of the offenders.
It is vital that preventive programs be directed towards the youth at the earliest available opportunity. There are many ways that this can be done. This paper will provide a comprehensive analysis and evaluation of the best way to do so. This will ensure that the preventive policy is effective, efficient and productivity, which are the cardinal aims of an evaluation exercise.
Evaluation and Analysis of Juvenile Delinquent Prevention Policies and Programs
Income generation is one of the essential considerations in any prevention program or policy. Indeed, the economic sector can be used to explore further alternatives other than the customary ones to generate income. Helping the youth attain better education, setup a profitable enterprise or explore other economic ventures is an instrumental way of preventing the youth from acquiring and developing delinquent behavior. Educational programmes are designed to equip youngsters with the requisite skills, knowledge, expertise and experience to earn a living. They are also significant in equipping the youth to self-appraise and, therefore, being able to adequately deal with conflicts. A carefully implemented educational preventive program deconstructs the myth of being involved in gangs. Lack of education or the requisite information makes youngsters view gang involvement as a glamorous affair. In contrast, educational programmes seek to provide a more fulfilling alternative to illegal activities.
Recreational and development activities are also designed to fit into the preventive policy approach of combating juvenile delinquency. Local organizational, communities and the government are significant players in facilitating this aspect of the policy. They are required to establish and maintain a wide range of recreational facilities. Such facilities are of particular interest to teenagers. Therefore, they should be allowed to access them. This will encourage skill development through the use of such services. For example, when the United States government initiated the basketball programme; the rate of crime among juveniles decreased by 60%. This was a significant drop in juvenile crime rates and demonstrates that if preventive programs are effectively managed and successful implemented, they can go a long way in averting juvenile behavior.
The urban environment is also another significant contributor to delinquent behavior. Preventive programs are essential in order to change such cases. The alteration of the urban ambience is not only desirable, but also essential in order to meet this objective. This involves a lot of planning that would ensure that urban areas landscapes and architectural designs are in tandem with the need to provide the youth with viable opportunities that will positively influence their life. Studies have shown how parks within urban centers get designed can have a significant impact on the level of delinquent behavior in the particular area. Research indicates that enclosed and unplanned parks provide youths with areas to engage in delinquent behavior. However, when parks are redesigned and careful planned to open them up to the public by creating more alternatives recreational facilities and leisure services the rate of juvenile crime drops sharply. Making parks more accessible to many people including parents significantly reduces the opportunities that youngsters had to use the ambience for illegal activities.
Moreover, local communities are usually at the focal point of programs design to prevent juvenile delinquency. Indeed, they have a cardinal responsibility and plethora of roles to play in ensuring that the youth grow up into responsible adults. Preventive programs use training groups which comprises of representatives from the neighborhood. These representatives are trained on how to control delinquents using informal means and guiding them to engage in more fulfilling activities. For example, the government has urged the local communities to engage the youth when they are seeking to ameliorate conditions within their vicinity.
There are numerous prevention programs and polices initiated to reduce the rate of juvenile delinquency. However, what is more significant is ensuring that all agencies work in harmony to ensure that the policy is successfully implemented. Multi-agency and multi-sectoral cooperation is a desirable practice that is gaining currency in many jurisdictions. Preventive policy programs which receive the support of the entire community have been noted to be more successful in achieving their set objectives and goals. From the evaluation, it is clear that a preventive policy that seeks to propagate the interests of the youngsters by building on their strengths have a high rate of success.
A juvenile justice crime control policy of crime prevention will be successful if it is made effective, efficient and productive. This paper has reached a conclusion that for a preventive policy to be a success, the functional opportunities of the concerned agency and all the stakeholders must be efficiently used. In addition, the framework and the contents of the design adopted to facilitate prevention efforts must be spectacularly defined. This will ensure that all subjects and requisite stakeholders, in this context; youngsters, parents, communities and teachers among others, are identified and their interests are synchronized with those of the youths. This sets up the stage where all spheres of the community have similar interests, which are keeping the society safe and preventing the youth from becoming delinquents. Last but not least, it is fundamental that the government facilitates an approach that will ensure the mechanisms of; coordination, administration and control of preventive policies are adequately developed and maintained.
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