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Juvenile Crime Policies: The Need for Sanction System - Essay Example

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An author of the current essay "Juvenile Crime Policies: The Need for Sanction System" will shed light on the organization of certain sanction strategies within the justice system. Furthermore, the writer evaluates the effectiveness of reducing crime after implementation of such sanctions…
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Juvenile Crime Policies: The Need for Sanction System
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a) Provided the loopholes in the implementation are prevented, diversion programmes can necessarily be designed in a way in which they provide reasonable sanction for the action that led to potential system involvement. But one has to be very cautious in doing this because, “neither diversion nor deinstitutionalization programmes” have found much success yet (Klein, 1979, p.146). But there has always been a very strong theoretical base for its implementation of diversion programmes and also a social and political demand for it (Klein, 1979, p.147). (b) An optimal sanctioning strategy for diversion programme must not be totally averse to the use of “usual practices” and “various components of the justice system” (Klein, 1979, p.152). There should be means to bring back the concerned person into formal system in case of failure of the treatment (Klein, 1979, p.152). Thirdly, the diversion should not lapse into non-treatment (Klein, 1979, p.152). Utmost care has to be taken in selecting the clients because it has to be ensured that they are apt for diversion programmes (Klien, 1979, p.160). To place the client in a separate locality other than directly inside the community will be a wiser option because it has been proven that there is no less stitgmatization involved in a community situation (Klein, 1979, p.181). The key concept of an optimal sanctioning strategy must be “diversion without referral, diversion away from but not to.” (Klein, 1979, p.183). Thus diversion has to become “a positive extension of the existing juvenile justice system” (Pogrebin, Poole and Regoli, 1984, p.305). (c) In the diversion programme carried out in Adams County, Colorado, the objective was to “reduce court caseloads; lower recidivism rates; not lower the net of social control; and, lend itself to rigorous evaluation” (Pogrebin, Poole and Regoli, 1984, p.306). Under the project, first or second time offenders were diverted to enable courts to concentrate on multiple offenders, follow up programmes were implemented, social control was imparted through a multidisciplinary team and rigorous evaluation was carried out (Pogrebin, Poole and Regoli, 1984, p.307). The project was a partial success but recidivism was found to be lowered (Pogrebin, Poole and Regoli, 1984, p.320). Ezell had studied a juvenile arbitration programme and had shown it to be even less effective as a diversion programme than the one studied by Pogrebin, Poole and Regoli (Ezell, 1989; Pogrebin, Poole and Regoli, 1984). In Ezell’s case study, after the arbitration programme started, more number of youth were sent to court (Ezell, 1989, p.364). The operation of the local juvenile justice system had changed in a positive way but the diversion was occurring only within the system which was actually widening its net to include more youth under it (Ezell, 1989, p.364). Thus the model discussed by Pogrebin, Poole and Regoli (1984) has a better chance to become socially relevant. 2. (a) The transfer has not reduced crime rates (Fagan, 2008, p.81). It has also been observed that “juveniles who have been tried as adults are no less likely to re-offend than their counterparts who have been tried as juveniles” (Fagan, 2008, p.81). Fagan is of the opinion that the juvenile transfer to adult systems exposes them to “harsh and sometimes toxic forms of punishment …that… have the perverse effect of increasing criminal activity” (2008, p.83). But the transfers have helped the juvenile courts to maintain their “legitimacy by removing hard cases” that challenged their right to show leniency to the juveniles (Fagan, 2008, p.82). As the transfer decision is taken in a case by case manner, the individual consideration of judges have a role to play and this has given rise to some alarming racist decisions as well (Fagan, 2008, p.96) (b) The risks/benefits are more apparent in certain forms of transfer. Particularly when the legislators and prosecutors are entrusted with decisions, the risks are present in a greater degree (Fagan, 2008, p.88). When age and offense thresholds become the criteria, the risks are lessened but when judicial discretion is the criterion, there can always be the risk of subjective bias (Fagan, 2008, p.86). The blended sentencing is yet another form of transfer which is risky rather than beneficial to the juvenile offenders (Fagan, 2008, p.90). References Ezell, M. (1989) Juvenile arbitration: net widening and other unintended consequences, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Vol.26, 358-377. Fagan, J. (Fall 2008) Juvenile crime and criminal justice: resolving border disputes, The Future of Children, Vol.18, No.2, 81-118. Klein, M.W. (1979) Deinstitutionalisation and diversion of juvenile offenders: a litany of impediments, Crime and Justice, Vol.1, 145-201. Pogrebin, M.R., Poole, E.D. and Regoli, R.M. (1984) Constructing and implementing a model juvenile diversion programme, Youth Society, Vol.15, 305-324. Read More
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