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Court Mandated Treatment Programs For Juvenile Offenders

2579 words - 10 pages

Did you know that more than 1 million troubled youth end up in juvenile court every year? Troubled youth end up in the juvenile justice system because they have committed an offense. Juvenile offenses are broken down into two categories: status offense and serious/adult offenses. Status offenses are: illegal behaviors of a child. These offenses can only be committed by children under 18. If these offenses were committed by an adult they would not be considered criminal. These types of offenses can be anything from running away, disrupting school environment, and being an unruly child. Serious offenses can be done by both a child and an adult. These offenses are crimes such as murder, battery, theft by taking etc.
Once the youth has committed an offense and is caught by a law enforcement officer, they are detained. Depending on the offense committed, the child will either be released to their parents or held in a detention center until further notice. If the child is housed in the center, within 24hrs they will be given a date and time for a detention hearing. At the detention hearing, the judge reviews the case and decides if the juvenile will be released. If the judge decides that the child should remain detained, he/she will remain in the Metro-Regional Youth Detention center for 21 days. While detained the assistant attorney is responsible for reviewing the case and evidence to see which charge will be placed on the juvenile. This process is called intake. After intake, the arraignment process takes place in which the defendant will plea guilt, not-guilty, or no consent. Once the plea has been made, it is up to the judge to decide what to do with the juvenile.
The government agency that I am interning with is the Fulton County Juvenile Court. Their mission states that they are “committed to the care, safety and guidance of children; to respectful and just treatment of all involved; to the personal development and accountability of children and their families; to public safety, and to restoration of victims and communities” ( Fulton County Juvenile Court, 2013 ). At the court, I am stationed under the mediation’s program which is an alternative dispute resolution method. While interning, I have noticed that the courts have a hard time finding ways to keep troubled youth out of the juvenile justice system. The main issue that is going to be discussed is whether the courts should make treatment programs mandatory for troubled youth. It is understood that not every troubled teenager can be “rehabilitated” through a treatment program, but implementing them can benefit the ones that can be. The purpose of this issue is to determine if treatment programs would be a beneficial alternative for youth instead of being incarcerated. This paper will analyze a theory which correlates to the issue addressed, state the strengths and weaknesses of treatment programs, provide policy implications for the court to administer and recommend programs suitable to...

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