One well-studied intervention for both juveniles diverted from incarceration as well as for juveniles at various stages of processing in the juvenile justice system is multisystemic therapy. Multisystemic therapy is a family- and community-based treatment derived from theories and research that trace the development of antisocial behavior to a combination of individual, family, peer, school, and community factors and their interactions. The intervention is not limited to the adolescent or the family but includes work on the intersections between various systems, such as family-school and family-peer interactions. Treatment is individualized to meet the needs of the adolescent and his or her family using empirically based treatment models, such as cognitive behavioral therapies, behavioral parent training, and structural family therapy (Henggeler, 1999). In addition, attention is paid to treatment fidelity through supervision of and support for treatment providers. A study that randomly assigned serious, violent juveniles either to multisystemic therapy or to the usual juvenile justice system processing (Henggeler et al., 1993) found that multisystemic therapy reduced recidivism at 2.4 years after referral to half of that for those who received the usual juvenile justice services. Borduin and colleagues (1995) found that juvenile offenders randomly assigned to multisystemic therapy, at four years after treatment, had better family relations and fewer psychiatric symptoms and were significantly less likely to be rearrested than those randomly assigned to individual therapy. A meta-analysis of family-based treatments of drug abuse found that multisystemic therapy had one of the largest effect sizes of all treatments reviewed (Stanton and Shadish, 1997).
Reid, 1998). This approach recruits, trains, and supports foster care families to implement a structured, individualized program for each youngster. Juveniles are placed in the foster care family for six to nine months, during which time their appropriate behavior is reinforced, they are closely supervised, and their peer associations are carefully monitored. Foster care families have daily contact with program staff to work out difficulties and review program plans. Juveniles also receive individual skill-focused treatment. Other components of the program include frequent visits with and weekly family therapy for biological parents (or guardians) to prepare them for after care and coordination with school and other needed service systems after their children return to their homes. Chamberlain and Reid (1998) compared chronic delinquent boys (with an average of 13 prior arrests and 4.6 prior felonies) who were randomly assigned to treatment foster care or to group homes in lieu of incarceration. Boys in treatment foster care were more likely to complete treatment and less likely to be rearrested or to spend time incarcerated than boys assigned to the group home.
No clear evidence shows whether services or treatment are better received in the community or in secure confinement. As for program content, more research is needed that untangles effects attributable to intensive supervision from those of treatment and rehabilitation provided along with the supervision. It is also unclear from existing intensive supervision evaluations which specific rehabilitation and treatment programs are effective and for whom (Altschuler et al., 1999). Several intensive after-care programs are currently being evaluated through grants from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Being caught by the police and caught up in the juvenile or criminal justice systems are especially hazardous for youth from disadvantaged backgrounds, because becoming involved in crime can produce not only future criminality, but also later problems in finding employment. These problems can be further conceptualized in terms of a process of “criminal embeddedness” (Hagan, 1993; Hagan and McCarthy, 1997).
This research is far from conclusive. It seems clear that delinquent juveniles require more than intensive surveillance and control to affect rates of future offending. Determining the appropriate amount and type of treatment and services is clearly an issue in need of further research and clarification. Change among delinquents may involve some backsliding. Relapse is known to be part of other forms of habit change (e.g., smoking, drinking, and drug use) and relapse prevention has become a standard part of drug and alcohol treatment programs (Institute of Medicine, 1990, 1997).
Juvenile delinquency is a massive and growing individual while others view delinquency as a macra level function of society.4 Many of the theories that will be presented will be applicable to at least some instances of crime and delinquency in society.
What this paper seeks to achieve is to show how this theory is conceptualized, how it causes juvenile delinquency particularly for African Americans, statistics on African American juveniles, and why it could lead to a life of crime as juveniles transition into adulthood....
While biological and psychological factors hold their own merit when explaining crime and delinquency, perhaps social factors can best explain juvenile delinquency.
Tracking changes in practice is difficult, not only because of the differences in structure of the juvenile justice system among the states, but also because the information collected about case processing and about incarcerated juveniles differs from state to state, and because there are few national data. Some states collect and publish a large amount of data on various aspects of the juvenile justice system, but for most states the data are not readily available. Although data are collected nationally on juvenile court case processing, the courts are not required to submit data, so that national juvenile court statistics are derived from courts that cover only about two-thirds of the entire juvenile population (Stahl et al., 1999). Furthermore, there are no published national data on the number of juveniles convicted by offense, the number incarcerated by offense, sentence length, time served in confinement, or time served on parole (Langan and Farrington, 1998). Such national information is available on adults incarcerated in prisons and jails.
The saying, society made me do it could help to better understand this perspective.The public appears much more aware of juvenile crime today than in the past; this is due in part to more thorough reporting techniques and greater emphasis on publicizing delinquent acts in the media.
After providing a brief historical background of the juvenile court and a description of stages in the juvenile justice system, we examine the various legal and policy changes that have taken place in recent years, the impact those changes have had on practice, and the result of the laws, policy, and practice on juveniles caught up in the juvenile justice system.
Unofficial report, however, suggest that a higher percentage of juveniles are involved in minor criminal behavior; grossly underreported common offenses include vandalism, shoplifting, underage drinking, and using marijuana. As students work through this unit, they will continually make and judge decisions, and they will analyze decision making by government officials and those seeking to influence government. Responsible decision making involves careful assessment of alternative and their consequences in light of values and goals.
The National Center for Juvenile Justice, under contract with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice, has collected and analyzed juvenile court statistics since 1975.