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  1. QUESTION

    Should there be mandatory incarceration for chronic juvenile offenders? Why or why not?
    Remember, mandatory incarceration in this context refers to placement in a juvenile detention center, not a prison.
    Do you think that this would this help curb continuing maladaptive behavior? Why or why not?
    When do you think a court should be lenient toward a chronic juvenile offender? Explain.

 

Subject Law and governance Pages 3 Style APA

Answer

In my opinion, chronic juvenile offenders should be incarcerated in juvenile detention centers to prevent them from repetitively committing offenses. Chronic juveniles have the habit of continuously engaging in crimes due to exposure to drug abuse, peer pressure, and alcohol. Keeping them in juvenile detentions will ensure they are denied chances of engaging in evil acts. Youths face numerous challenges such as lack of employment, idleness which pushes them to indulge in criminal acts. At times, putting juveniles in community work programs might not work.  Even though there is a chance of rehabilitating the juvenile, some of the behaviors are not easily unlearned, which requires a bit of detention. Leaving the juvenile in the society without mandatory incarceration, in most cases, results to him/her becoming a hardcore criminal in the future. Free roaming provides the opportunity for the chronic juvenile to continue learning and influencing other youths into committing crimes. Mandatory incarceration of chronic juveniles is necessary to avoid them coming into contact with the good members of the society to influence their behaviors in a negative way. Additionally, it is justifiable to keep them in detention for rehabilitation as they are young to avoid future situations where it would be hard to change their bad traits. Confining the juveniles ensure they undergo psychological counseling sessions to try and reform bad behaviors. Before a juvenile is declared a chronic offender, he/she has committed petty offenses severally, thus it would be wise to keep him/her away from places that provide the opportunity to commit the crimes. Most of the hard criminals around started as petty offenders as they evolved to become the most feared criminals. Therefore, advocating for detention in juvenile detention centers will save the menace of them becoming murderers and armed robbers in the community. Petty offenses costs are not as expensive as compared to heinous crimes (Millett, 2018). The costs of crime involve the hiring of lawyers, court fees and costs of facilitating one to attend court sessions. As the crime becomes big, the costs involved escalate. The parties involved, in the cases, such as offended, offender and their families are immensely affected with the costs. To avoid costs escalation, it is better to keep the juvenile in detentions for rehabilitation to reduce the chances of committing the crimes severally.

In most cases, maladaptive behaviors inhibit how a person overcomes situations. Continuously leaving the juvenile offender exposed to an environment where he/she commits crime will make him/her develop crime traits, which might take a while to reform. The juvenile detentions are meant to rehabilitate the youth offenders rather than punishing them. Arguably, instituting punishment to juvenile delinquency behaviors is not the solution in changing their bad behaviors. According to Monahan, Steinberg & Piquero (2015), young people have experienced stressful situations, traumatizing situations, and anxiety, which forces them to commit certain offenses. A proper assessment must be conducted on the juveniles to ensure mandatory incarceration in detentions is the best option to take. From the behaviorism theory, behaviors of people are acquired through conditioning process. Therefore, keeping chronic juveniles in detentions ensure they are conditioned to behaving in certain desirable ways. In detention centers, freedom of movement is curtailed and restriction ensures juveniles are not exposed to items such as knives, which they can use in committing petty crimes. Some of the juvenile detentions have sport and gaming activities like football and basketball that keep detainees busy to positively influence their behaviors and traits. The detention centers have counselors and psychologists offering treatment sessions to chronic juveniles. I believe these therapist and counseling sessions offer an opportunity for detained youths to unlearn some of the maladaptive characters. In the detention centers, detained juveniles get a chance to learn from the other detainees through interaction forums that promote behavioral change.

First, I believe if the juvenile offender is a first timer in committing the petty offense, then he/she should receive leniency from the court. Most of the juveniles commit petty crimes like stealing a phone because of peer pressure. Although pressure from a friend is not a justification of committing the act, leniency might be given if the act is committed for the first instance. Often, judges are in agreement that first-time offenders require a second chance of rectifying their mistake. Secondly, leniency depends on the state laws and severity of the offense. A simple and petty offense like stealing shoes might be given leniency by the presiding judge. Even though leniency is given, the juvenile is cautioned and advised to desist from committing the act again in future. The juvenile offenders who exhibit remorse should be given leniency as long as the offense committed is petty. The past behaviors of the juvenile offenders are critical in determining whether the judge will give leniency or not. In the instance where the juvenile offender is of good behaviors, then the judge should consider giving the individual another chance. If the judge assesses the circumstances surrounding the offense committed by the young offender and finds suitable to provide leniency, then it is better to send him/her to community service program (Kokkalera, 2018).

 

References

Kokkalera, S. (2018). Cara H. Drinan: The War on Kids: How American Juvenile Justice Lost its Way.

Millett, M. (2018). Is Alternative Sentencing More Beneficial Than Incarceration: A Focus On Juveniles.

Monahan, K., Steinberg, L., & Piquero, A. R. (2015). Juvenile justice policy and practice: A developmental perspective. Crime and justice44(1), 577-619.

 

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