Juvenile Justice Systems Essay

2126 words - 9 pages

The question that comes to mind when learning that implementing restorative justice programs nationwide would save millions of dollars for the U.S. is why is it not already implemented into all states. Many of the prisons in the U.S. are privately owned meaning prisons no longer become federal institutions even though they are paid by the federal government. They become a business of incarcerating people. It is to the convenience of the private prison system that these restorative justice systems do not get implemented nationwide.(Brewer & Heitzeg, 2007) This is what we know as the Prison Industrial complex, which now includes more than 3,300 jails, more than 1,500 state prisons, and100 federal prisons in the United States. Nearly 300 of these are private prisons. The prison industrial complex utilizes large amounts of tax dollars that are cut from education and other social welfare programs. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2004) We are giving money to a business of locking up juveniles instead of a government with rehabilitative and restorative programs. This is a reoccurring issue that fails to be addressed in the United States even if the evidence of intervention based programs is promising for positive results.
England Juvenile Justice System
In England there is a slight difference in how they handle juvenile crime, they are strong believers in prevention before the juvenile escalates. They target early intervention by promoting three basic programs; anti-social behavior orders, pre court disposals and preventative programs. They have also developed a program called Onset, this program is used as an evaluation system to target children that are at a higher risk of being involved in crime. They target them in their “pre offending stage” in order to prevent the criminal activity and began a useful socialization process. (Paylor, 2011) In the late 1990’s there were several pieces of legislation passed in England that promoted a more intervention based criminal justice system for juveniles. The Crime and Disorder Act of 1998 (CDA) introduced the idea of restorative justice as an alternative for handling juvenile crime instead of directly putting juveniles into custody. (Custody in England is used interchangeably with incarceration.) This also allowed the idea that creating a strategy to deal with the problems being faced by youth, and looking to control those risk factors would lead to lower rates of offending.
The Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act of 1999 (YJCEA) along with the CDA both had one basic fundamental purpose to “build on principles underlying the concept of restorative justice, defined in the white paper as the 3 R’s of Restoration, Reintegration, and Responsibility.” (Crawford & Newburn, 2002) These three R’s are the key to success in the juvenile justice system in England. The goal of restorative justice in juvenile delinquency is to change the way we view at risk youth. There is a social stigma attached to juveniles so one...

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