This paper will reflect on children ages 10-17 who are influenced to become juvenile offenders. So many causes or reasons caused this horrible epidemic which also includes the many forms of trauma that could have occurred. Considering the many nature, nurture, and environmental causes of force, neglect, many forms of child abuse and sexual abuse, rape, forced into child pornography, family interaction, abandonment and more. There is no end to the amount of suffering that has turned these children into the perpetrator once feared. The four phases of the court system: The Rehabilitative Model, The Due Process Reform, Getting Tough on Juvenile Offenders, and A Window of Opportunity for Rethinking Juvenile Justice all handle juveniles differently until they are justifiably given a fair chance. In the earlier years the court system tried rehabilitation and protecting children not punishing them no matter how severe the crime. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the forms used to help in treatment for any mental illnesses or problems that came from peers, environment, and all other influences. All of which are contributing factors to youth’s decisions that decide the path they take whether good or bad.
Key terms: Juvenile offenders, Court system, Cognitive behavioral therapy.
Growing up no one says that life will be a dream come true or that there are some extreme barriers to face. No one says that a mother, father, or close family member or loved one is going to mean no harm and possibly keep doing so. No one explained growing up that mom and dad may or may not protect the family from everything that is scary, such as the perpetrator under the bed or the ones that could be hiding in the closet. No one says that one day you could end up being one of those perpetrators that was one point feared. There may be cases where growing up in the perfect home nothing bad ever had happened, but those impulses still came and still turned into something no one would have thought to be. No one wakes up one day and says: “I want to be a juvenile offender” or even says “I want to commit a crime to see what jail would be like.” When looking at kids, most parents and guardians want to see innocence for as long as possible and not see the horrors of the world that awaits. Let the children be free to not think about the many issues and problems of the world that very much could occur in their own back yard. These children at younger ages are starting to participate and even partake in some of these issues. The ages observed will be children ages 10-17. There may be children younger who also fall into this category discussed of juvenile offenders, but are not the focus of this paper. No biology has an answer or reasoning behind some of the actions committed if not influenced and know that environment and nurture/nature is one of the biggest influences of all. There is no one who can promise that these kids will not grow up around alcohol, adult offenders, drug addicts, negligent parents, abusive parents, abandonment, pushed into child pornography, and there are many more possible environments. These children are sometimes forced and other times want to do wrong which there is no answer for. At the end of the day, the choices made brings them to become juvenile offenders.
A juvenile offender is sometimes looked at as something that is related to other forms of offenders like sex offenders. Although that is possible as one of the offences the term juvenile offender is a person who is below a specific age (normally 18 years old) who committed a crime. Some of the crimes may have been severe while others could be very minor. There are even some cases where some of the offenses are very severe like manslaughter or homicide. The list of possible offenses includes: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, index violent crimes, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, arson, index property crime, other assaults, vandalism, weapons, drug abuse violations, disorderly conduct, curfew and loitering, runaways, other offences, and non-index crimes (Justice, n.d). With such a heavy list it is easy to see that the crime committed does not entail it to be major but still a problem non-the-less. In the United States there are statistics of the different types of offenses of how many crimes a juvenile offender committed. Back in time there was a lot more arrests and although the numbers keep going down it is still an issue that needs answers as to why even have a massive spike of crime committed by children in the first place. In our data base from the US Department of Justice, in 2015, there was a total of 921,600 arrests of children under the age of 18. Compared to the earliest year given in 2000, there was out of 2.2 million arrests 2,157,200 children arrested under 18 in the United States (Justice, n.d). Although there is not a recent statistic out now it is clear the crime is going down significantly.
The different ways the crimes were handled by the courts has changed over the years. There were four periods over the time that a juvenile court was made up that might have had some influence on keeping the crime rate down. Those stages are: rehabilitative vision of the Progressive Era, the due process reforms period, getting tough on juvenile offenders’ period, and the juvenile justice reform period. (Bonnie, 2013) These different eras are how children were dealt with and even more how they are dealt with now when they commit a crime. It is amazing how over time these changes could possibly be the reason as to why some of the crime rate has dropped so much in the last decade. Even so, the answer could also lie in the evidence-based practice programs and services that are available instead of throwing the child in jail or waiting on the court systems to try to determine what is better. The goal is to help the child change behavior and shape up to stay out of trouble. Although these are just a few of the ways that has impacted children to turn life around, there is still many influences to pick the wrong path. As social workers, the mission is to do everything possible to help others realize that all individuals have the power to help themselves. People do not need others to do it for them, they have the strength to handle it. No matter how hard we may try, there is no saving everyone. This specific topic is important because there is no avoiding that there are children everywhere and even though not all our jobs revolves around kids, some point children are observed and need to be handled. Handling children, we can show that they can overcome any obstacle. Not letting the children think it is ok to do things that will not get them far in life, but show they can be somebody and overcome the hurt and pain. Not every child or person is given a chance or started out with a clean slate. Some kids may have had to steal to survive, kill or be killed, forced into sex trafficking or die, and many more scenarios. By studying what makes these children become juvenile offenders, we can try to come up with services and programs to make sure that the kids never end up in the system. As social advocates helping others, not only the families and parents but also the children, are a huge part of the work accomplished. These children will one day grow up and be the voices, the reason, the meaning with how the world is. It is important that we keep pushing to fight for the children and not just lock them away, but educate those kids to help those children realize that anyone could make a huge difference in the world one day. Juvenile offenders are getting to a younger and younger age and children are losing their innocents way to soon. These kids torturing each other and their selves because they really do not know any better. I personally have my own feelings on the topic that may be if we did stop all the violence early we could make a difference in the future.
Although it may seem that a topic as broad as juvenile offender is not as important and many other issues out there it is still one that hits me the wrong way. I am researching this topic to try to understand or see fully what influences these kids to do these things. I realize that growing up in many different lifestyles and environments is hard, but from my own personal experiences I never decided to go that route. I was curious to see what would push a child over the edge and even more so why in the first place there would be so many children committing criminal acts. I love and enjoy many crime shows and even though I know the majority are just made up, I could not get passed the fact that there are children out there doing these things and even being forced to do the things they really do not want to do. I realize most of the reason is what had occurred to them growing up or who their role models are. My reasoning could very well be behind the fact that I have a baby boy almost a year old and I could never imagine, or want to, that he would ever do something to get arrested or locked up. I lost my chance to just be a kid and not worry about the world when I was little. I had to take on many responsibilities to help raise my younger siblings when my mother had passed away and try to do whatever I could to help. I personally want to see what other things could be done to keep lowering these numbers and to help the children more than giving them a record by arresting them or locking them up. To figure out how to help these kids, it is always good to look back on the history and go more in depth of the influences that encourages our children to be juvenile offenders.
In life, there is no say on what paths are taken or what occurs, but hoping that there was a learned difference growing up of right and wrong. There is so many choices, complex unknowns, paths wondering which is right or wrong. Society has taught that although it is sad something bad happens, that is no reason to act out the anger, hurt and frustration that has built up within. These occurrences that happen out of our control have major influences from the environment and the help from the aspect of nurture and nature.
There is a lot that can be said about nature, nurture and the environment but will keep it brief. How parents treat their child growing up has some effect on the behavior of the child. Growing up if children are raised neglected or in a hostile environment then that would drive the child to be hostile, rebellious, and mischievous. If the child was to grow up in an environment where the parents are supportive, caring, and teaching the child the difference between right and wrong then more than like be ambitus, motivated, and succeed. There is no saying that there will not be mistake along the way or that those growing up in a good home will not commit a crime. Having what is lacking in many of the children’s lives that need the guidance can be extremely harmful and cause increasingly violent actions. These specific influences of environment, nature, and nurture incorporate the trauma that also influenced and still influences the choices that are made.
When looking back at history there is no real key point of when it started with the many influences discussed. Everything back in the day has changed so drastically that what was considered allowed has changed over the years. Young children were trained to fight in wars and experience the many different lifestyles and home settings that influenced the actions made. There is no real way of knowing what sort of specific events shaped the decisions or influenced someone to make. A big influence on these crimes can be from some traumatic histories that shaped the child’s choices. No matter how the trauma was addressed or was not treated seems to have a major effect. Trauma is damage to the mind that occurs from one or multiple extremely distressing events. Traumatic events include sexual abuse, physical abuse, domestic violence, community and school violence, medical trauma, motor vehicle accidents, acts of terrorism, war experiences, natural and human-made disasters, suicide, and other traumatic losses (Kelley, T., Pransky, J., & Sedgeman, J., 2014, P143). Trauma is divided into three categories: Acute Trauma, Chronic Trauma, and Complex Trauma.
Acute Trauma is one traumatic event limited in time such as rape, gang shootings, and/or natural disasters. Chronic Trauma is a little more severe with multiple repeating assaults on the body and mind of the child such as the ongoing occurrence of domestic violence or physical abuse and/or sexual abuse. The last trauma is Complex Trauma which is a long-term impact and exposure to chronic trauma on the child (2014).
As it is seen there are categories and severity of trauma that plays a role in the actions taken by any person. Some of the traumas are so severe that they can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Considerable research suggests that a disproportionate number of this nation’s most traumatized youth are found in the juvenile justice system (Siegfried, Ko, and Kelley 2004). The juvenile justice system will hopefully consider the back story of these kids that need the help more then to be put away.
Trauma influences and affects everyone in different ways. No one person, especially a child who may not understand what is occurring, handles something that happens to them the same. With each level holding different meaning one level could still seem stronger to a child than another. The way one-person processes life is different than another person. The mental thoughts, the actions, and the overall mentality it is affecting. This pushes children into child pornography, sex trafficking, suicide, homicide, and honestly the list goes on. The development of a child is crucial because these children are the future. The lack of the resources, the support, the guidance, and the many things needed to give these children the best chance possible is compromised and gives society the problem of what to do and how to help. Even though there are many numbers of proof of these crimes, these statistics are a learning opportunity. The opportunity to go against the odds and do good no matter how difficult, gloomy, or almost impossible it may be.
There are so many statistics on the different crimes committed by many of the juvenile delinquents throughout the years. Juvenile delinquency is a term commonly used in academic literature for referring to a young person who has committed a criminal offence, although its precise definition can vary according to the local jurisdiction (Young, Greer, Church, 2017). The most recent offenses on record are from 2015. The total amount of children arrested is 921,600.
Looking through the statistics, the crimes they are arrested for include: murder and nonnegligent manslaughter 800 arrested, robbery 18,500 arrested, aggravated assault 28,600 arrested, burglary 35,600 arrested, larceny-theft 14,600 arrested, motor vehicle theft 14,600 arrested, arson 2,700 arrested, index property crime index 208,800 arrested, other assaults 131,300 arrested, vandalism 41,700 arrested, weapons 19,300 arrested, forgery and counterfeiting 1,000 arrested, fraud 4,500 arrested, embezzlement 600 arrested, stolen property 10,400 arrested, prostitution and commercialized vice 600 arrested, drug abuse violations 99,100 arrested, gambling 500 arrested, offenses against the family and children 3,400 arrested, driving under the influence 6,600 arrested, disorderly conduct 71,300 arrested, drunkenness 5,500 arrested, liquor law violations 43,100 arrested, curfew and loitering 44,800 arrested, other offences 167,700 arrested, and vagrancy 1,100 arrested (Justice, n.d).
Rape, violent crime index, runaways and sex offenses are not listed to give the statistic. There is a possibility that as the years go on the number of juvenile offenders will increase. Looking at the statistics gives a clear picture of what we should work on with children to keep them from joining the statistic. There are probably logical explanations looking back into the past to show what could be the reasoning for committing these crimes.
The court system starting in Chicago in 1899 is really when the history of juvenile offenders really took off. The history is more focused on how the court had dealt with the offenses committed. There are four stages that clearly showed how the court system had handled each case at that point in time. As times change so does the way the judicial system handles all crimes. There is no secret that children’s brains are constantly growing, and the brain does not stop growing until the persons twenty’s. As that is said, it is not considered acceptable, depending on the severity of the crime committed, to charge a child the same as charging an adult. In general, pragmatic policymakers care about holding youth accountable for the harms they cause, but they also want to adopt effective programs that reduce crime at the lowest cost (Bonnie, 2013, P33).
The first stage is the rehabilitative model. In Chicago, progressive reformers such as Jane Addams sought to promote the welfare of poor immigrant children and, in 1899, established the first juvenile court in pursuit of this goal (Howell, 1997; Beuttler and Bell, 2010). During this Progressive Era, the goal was to make sure the children were not charged just like adults so there was protection. The protection had included keeping the adolescent children safe, child labor laws too not overwork the children, and laws about attendance to school. The reformers envisioned a system that aimed to promote the welfare of youth involved in crime as well as those who had suffered abuse and neglect by their parents (Bonnie, 2013, P33). Rehabilitate was the goal with the stage so that children were not tried in a criminal manner, but more in a way to get diagnosed and prescribed for the issues they may or may not have. The lack of punishment was not observed as wrong because the judges thought the help they determined the child needed to get was going to stop any more criminal acts and behavior. There was no defense attorney and no right to try it as a case. If the juvenile comes back the judge decides the punishment they see fit. The mission though is to get crimes tried separate from adults and handled in a different manner which was a success for a little while. Child advocates argued that the juvenile court harmed the youth whose interests it claimed to serve, and conservative critics emphasized its failure to protect the public from young criminals (2013, P34). All leading up to the second stage the due process reform.
The system was failing the children in getting the rehabilitation that was offered from the courts. The system did not allow the juveniles to have an attorney and some judges instead of giving a form of rehabilitation, or the offender returned because they never got the help promised, the children got sent to jail regardless on the severity of the crime. A good example of such is Gerry Gault’s case.
The case of Gerry Gault represented a stark example of the deficiencies of the rehabilitative model of juvenile justice. Fifteen-year-old Gerry was accused of making lewd phone calls to his neighbor. He was brought before a juvenile court judge without notice of the charge or an attorney to defend him. The neighbor never appeared as a witness; instead, the arresting officer reported her complaint to the judge. At the end of the proceeding, the judge committed Gerry to the Arizona State Industrial School for up to six years—for a misdemeanor for which an adult would receive, at most, a $50 fine and jail term of up to 12 months. In Gerry’s case and many others, the outcome of an informal nonadversarial delinquency proceeding was a potentially severe deprivation of liberty (2013, P35).
It was time for a change with the lack of rehabilitation received it was proven that it was not effective to all the children. The lack of council and what was not offered to the juvenile delinquent in a fairness resulted in the unfairness given as shown in the Gerry Gault case.
Gerry faced a serious loss of liberty and therefore was entitled to protection under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution. Like adult criminal defendants, juveniles have a right to counsel, a right to notice of charges, a right to confront witnesses against them, and a privilege against self-incrimination (2013, P35).
Thanks to Gault’s case that strongly impacted the court, it gave the juvenile offenders their rights to have an attorney and a defense. The judge should be more formal and allow the prosecutor to prove the child committed the crime. The judge should not get to be personal and question the child to decide the punishment or treatment. Although the due process reformers challenged the rosy characterization of young offenders as innocent children, they supported the proposition that juveniles were different from adults and should receive different treatment in the justice system (Zimring,1978; Shepherd,1996). This went on until the third stage took over, getting tough on juvenile offenders, in the late 1980’s.
The previous two stages clearly were not enough leading to a more dramatic, harsher faze. This third period of reform was triggered by an increase in violent juvenile crime, particularly homicide, in the late 1980s that generated hostility and fear of young offenders (Bonnie, 2013, P38). The problem was that those delinquent offenders that committed the extreme crimes that should not be taken lightly, was a major issue and thought to be more forceful. The court system thought it should be fair that the children who commit adult crimes should be tried as adults. The media had taken an interest to the juveniles that were committing horrendous crimes like school shootings, homicide, and many others that society was starting to get overly concerned.
Legislatures, in turn, rushed to pass laws that would respond to the concerns expressed by their constituents to protect the public and punish young offenders. Legitimate concerns about public safety became exaggerated in response to salient incidents or political campaigns so that in some states harsh laws were enacted even though youth crime had been declining for several years (2013, P38).
The offenders continued to commit crimes because it was known the court system was still too soft on punishment which became a massive concern to society. Traditionally, only youth charged with the most serious violent crimes (murder, rape, kidnapping, aggravated assault) could be tried as adults (2013, P40). Adult crimes are not or have been considered equal to misdemeanor crimes and have been constantly searching for ways to handle the children who commit them. Despite (or perhaps because of) the criticism of the juvenile court’s excessive leniency, dispositions became much harsher during this period, with greater use of secure placement and longer periods of time (2013, P40). This got everyone thinking and still know that the way things are handled is not quite where they should be and came up with a different conclusion. A growing body of research indicated that evidence-based treatment programs implemented with fidelity to their design might be far more effective in changing youth behavior than incarceration (Henggeler, Melton, and Smith, 1992; Aos et al., 2001; Barnoski and Aos, 2004). This next stage, rethinking the juvenile system, then leads to a change for the 21st century.
This stage observed and corrected the system by combining the previous stages. Several offenses have gone down significantly but had occurred before this stage has fully taken effect. This account not only does not support the traditional depiction of juveniles as children who bear no responsibility for their crimes, but it also clarifies that young offenders are quite different from their adult counterparts in ways that influence their criminal activity and response to correctional interventions (2013, P43). The brain of a child between the ages of 10-17 is still distant from being developed. With that said, the actions and lack of development can really impact the actions made.
The psychologic behavior that could affect adolescent decision making might have some influence which some of those include: susceptibility to peer influence, poor impulse control, sensation-seeking, and a tendency to focus on immediate rather than future consequences of choices. The impact of this research in the policy arena has been amplified by recent studies of adolescent brain development that have begun to shed light on the biological underpinnings of some of these psychosocial influences on decision making (2013, P43).
There was developmental research done that the court had needed to determine what opinions should be considered to handle the different offenses and children. Several kids that are affected has taken a toll and was needing some straightening out.
The three opinions that were considered are: In a 2005 opinion, Roper v. Simmons, the Court held that the use of the death penalty for a crime committed by a juvenile was a violation of the Constitution’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. The Court drew heavily on psychological research in reaching the conclusion that juveniles, because of their developmental immaturity, were not sufficiently blameworthy to be subject to a punishment reserved for the worst offenders. Five years later, in Graham v. Florida, the Court extended its analysis to the sentence of life without parole for a nonhomicide offense. Like Roper, Graham emphasized that the immaturity of youth makes their crimes less reprehensible than those of adults and suggested that juvenile offenders cannot be assumed to be irredeemable. Most recently, in Miller v. Alabama,15 the Court again drew on developmental psychology and neuroscience in holding unconstitutional a mandatory sentence of life without parole for homicide (Bonnie, 2013, P43-44).
The importance is that the juvenile justice system has come a long way from where it was in the 1960’s. The right punishment for the wrong actions is proving to bring in fair justice. Given the help from many programs and organizations, this issue of juvenile offenders has come a long way.
The type of study to conduct on the specific topic would be a longitudinal cohort study. A longitudinal cohort study is studies that are intended to describe processes occurring over time and thus conduct their observations over an extended period and examine more specific subpopulations as they change over time (Rubin, A., & Babbie, E., 2016, p.65). Using this specific study could leave room for bias and you could lose respondent, but with that said still get some valid information. Using a multiphase mixed methods design would be the most logically given both qualitative and quantitative methods are getting used to better understand all aspects of the research question. The term multiphase mixed methods design is a design that is distinguished using various methods that are based on a social justice theory and aimed at collecting data that will yield a call for action to improve the plight of vulnerable, marginalized, or oppressed groups (Rubin, A., & Babbie, E., 2016, p.54). While there are many ways to conduct the research, using a random sample of youths, having a control group of reoccurring offenders, and another group of juveniles in rehabilitative centers comparing and researching over a course of years to see what differences occur. Picking both males and females for the study ages 10-17 years old. Changing up who gets the pretest, posttest, and who gets both will be another challenge. Even so with doing these many steps, there is a lot of hope to achieve some answers of other forms of treatment, education, or help that can be given to keep these youths to keep these kids from behind bars or in a facility.
One of the helpful treatments include CBT which stands for Cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a common type of talk therapy (psychotherapy) that can be a very helpful tool in treating mental health disorders, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or an eating disorder. The treatment combines cognitive therapy with behavioral therapy by identifying faulty or maladaptive patterns of thinking, emotional response, or behavior and substituting them with desirable patterns of thinking, emotional response, or behavior. The simplest way to comprehend it is to remember that what we think is how we feel and act with our thoughts, what we do is how we think and feel is our behavior, and what we feel affects how we think and act is our emotions. All three thoughts, behaviors, and emotions play off each other and make an impact. Although in many ways the cognitive behavioral therapy method does work and help, another method that has been known to also help is a significant one called Multisystemic therapy also known as (MST).
Multisystemic therapy (MST) is a family-focused intervention targeting characteristics related to antisocial behavior, including family relationships and peer associations, with evidence from US and UK studies suggesting MST is a beneficial intervention for juvenile offenders. When compared with conventional services offered by juvenile offending services, MST was associated with a significant reduction in the likelihood of reoffending, maintained 2 and 4 years post-treatment. Offenders engaging in MST are reported to be significantly less likely to become involved in serious and violent offending. Significant improvements have also been observed in both self- and parent-reported delinquency, family relations and interactions,and home, school, community and emotional functioning (Young, Greer, Church, 2017).
This specific theory not only has made a good impact on the juveniles but has also shown a positive outcome with positive results.
MRT was developed by Little and K. D. Robinson (1988) for improving social, moral, and behavioral deficits in offenders. In addition to being firmly grounded in the theoretical framework of cognitive-behaviorism, MRT draws on theoretical ideas from Kohlberg’s (1976) cognitive-developmental theory of moral development. Kohlberg’s theory posits that moral development progresses through six stages and that only a small percentage of the adult population ever attains the highest level of moral reasoning. Individuals with higher levels of moral development are less likely to choose behaviors that are harmful to others and, as such, are less likely to engage in criminal activities. Higher levels of moral development involve abstract thinking and perspective taking. Research has generally supported the hypothesis that juvenile delinquents and adult criminals tend to be at early stages of moral development and reasoning (Arbuthnot & Gordon, 1988). MRT views offenders as having deficits that go beyond delayed moral development. Little and K. D. Robinson stated that “clients enter treatment with low levels of moral development, strong narcissism, low ego/identity strength, poor self-concept, low self-esteem, inability to delay gratification, relatively strong defense mechanisms, and relatively strong resistance to change and treatment” (p. 135). Despite this rather broad theoretical basis for MRT, the therapeutic elements are largely cognitive-behavioral, drawing a clear connection between thought processes and behavior (Wilson, D. B., Bouffard, L. A., & Mackenzie, D. L. 2005, p.9).
Considering the possibilities to do surveys could bring a better understanding of what exact influences and factors are the cause for the juvenile behavior. The different screenings and surveys can also be extremely educational. Although giving the surveys mainly to the youth that are locked up or in a rehabilitative facility does not account for all the juvenile offenders to be in court, you can do so through interviewing and or handing them a paper survey to turn in. There can be multiple forms of surveys used to hand out separately as part of the study to a few different groups like the ones who are in prison, the ones who are in a treatment facility, and to random youths all over the United States through email and or mail. Comparing such surveys would take a lot of time and effort and even though there could be some false information recorded, it would still give an idea of what is going on and how to help. The youth who suffer from trauma can be helped and some of the forms or programs to help could include:
The Traumatic Events Screening Inventory for Children (TESI-C) (available from email@example.com) and Parent Report Form (TESI-PRR) (available from Chandra.firstname.lastname@example.org) asks about 24 types of adverse or potentially traumatic events including maltreatment, family and community violence, war, kidnapping, animal attacks, traumatic deaths, and life-threatening accidents, disasters, or illnesses and medical care, as well as emotional abuse, physical neglect, having a parent incapacitated by mental health or substance use problems, and witnessing a caregiver being arrested. Separate versions are provided for youth interviews or self-report and parent informants. The Juvenile Victimization Questionnaire Screener Sum Version (available at http://www.unh.edu/ccrc/jvq/available_versions.html) has 32 items which cover a wide range of childhood interpersonal victimization experiences (e.g., being robbed, bullied, assaulted, maltreated, subjected to racism). The Childhood Trust Events Survey (available at childhoodtrust.org) includes 30 items. It is available in a child self-report and caregiver version in English and Spanish, as well as an adolescent self-report version. It is based on the TESI and the Adverse Childhood Experiences Survey, with four additional questions added to the adolescent version regarding experiences of interpersonal violence such as being shot at or stabbed (Kerig, P. K., Ford, J. D., & Olafson, E., 2014, p.7).
Following the cognitive behavioral therapy these are also great forms to better understand and see what issues are really the cause on how we can help. It is very resourceful using surveys to also figure out the best rehabilitative method to use. Even when performing multiple studies and surveys, the main goal is to get a better result for everyone.
What I would expect to be the results when everything has been conducted, is that there are a million influences and they all affect us in many ways. Regardless of if it was witnessed or where a part of, environmental factors, our peers, community, and many others still had some type of impact. The surrounding factors are not very helpful all the time but with the many programs, therapies, and even helpful people it is possible to get the help needed to stay out of or never enter a court room. There is no perfection in the world and there can be mistakes made, but learning from those mistakes and growing from them will make the best positive impact. Conducting the study, only have one or a couple of the studies will not fully be true without updating and continuing the study over many years. To help the problem and the child is the result.
In this research there is a lot to still learn and to do so can conduct multiple experiments in many different forms to get answers to this specific research question and many others. Many routes or forms of how the research is conducted can be tweaked to compare the results and see if they still come out similar or bring new data that does not compare at all requiring more research to be done. Considering the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy model, it was only observed in one aspect when in fact there are different forms of CBT and different categories that could also be explored. There is no one way to research what indicators are responsible that influence juvenile offenders to offend. Also, it is important to consider the many different areas and environments out there that are so different the results would be all over the chart. As time goes by those environments and areas change so the results will also change with it. Around the world there are variable and inadequate legal frameworks that are not age-appropriate, there is a lack of age-appropriate services and establishments, and a lack of a specialist workforce, leading to challenges around training and supervision to work with this vulnerable population (Young, S., Greer, B., & Church, R, 2017).
What I have learned so far is that there are so many influences and factors that contribute to the actions of children. As society keeps changing the numbers of influences fluctuates constantly. Everything from economical, environmental, family, financial, emotional, mental, physical, etc. all play the main role or influence in the child’s life. It is enlightening that the court system has come a long way from where it once was on how they handled punishment for the crime committed. Not all crimes are observed as equal and some are more severe then others and should be treated as such. Not all children are considered “in their right mind” and could have some mental or psychological disabilities that need some serious attention. Getting forced to live in the environments and surroundings is never an easy thing. Learning these many things and more it is important to realize that there is nothing more we can do then help those who want to be helped. Policies are put in place for a reason not to be a punishment but to help those who are getting affected. Not all programs are helpful and many not even work, but there are many programs that do work that push the juvenile in the opposite direction from the court. There is no such thing as saving everyone or all the children, but helping as many as we can and always helping will make up for those few who did not get saved.
What was observed if I had conducted the study was that giving out a survey every year to the inmates or children out in the United States would give a clearer picture of what influences are the real culprit. Although not all children would answer the surveys honestly, there would still be a lot of truth to most of them and show a clearer perspective. There is no possible way to help all the children and change the surroundings grown up in. There is no good in the world without the bad. These influences will always be there and push these children to commit crimes and be juvenile offenders. The goal is to find something or make something whether a policy or program or even a law in place to help the most amount of people in the best amount of time. The problem is that this type of research never ends and will be done constantly. The influences could be the same or there might be more or different influences that keeps this question a problem in society. Considering the other branches that grow off this problem it would be interesting to conduct more research of the children inside the facility or jail getting a much clearer perspective on what really occurs and how these children change for the better or the worst. There is no right or wrong answer and that is why this conclusion appears so broad. There are so many more answers that are not uncovered and so many more unknowns that would be interesting to reveal. With that said, considering how to perceive the research differently and what would be changed if allowed to really conduct the research myself would be considered more in the form of reliable rehabilitation. I strongly would also hope that more rehabilitation is given to give these kids a chance to learn and be able to grow up and not live life behind bars.
What I would do differently if given the chance to conduct the research myself is break the problem down even more and spend time at each area of influences to really get a better understanding to figure out how to help the children. Getting to be in the shoes of the kids who live in that situation for a period and how they are treated can also make it easier to find possible temporary solutions until something better comes along. There is no possible way to change all but to show the kids they are stronger then they think and can overcome any obstacle can push them to make better decisions. Just considering also starting a program or class in elementary on basics of living and how to handle situations would also be a big part of the research I would be interested in doing. This program would consist of how to take care of yourself if no one else does, the basics of the world, how to get a job, how to pay bills, how to take care of yourself properly, how to cook basic meals, how to stand up for yourself, and many life lessons that not all homes or environments are capable of teaching. No math, English, Spanish, history, or the many other subjects in school come close to being as important as taking care of yourself. These programs could get these kids mentally prepared for the good and the bad, so they know what to expect and are not blind sided or worse choose not to fight but let the problems consume them until they end up in a court room. All good and bad decisions have consequences and there is no expectation that all children could possibly know better if not raised to. Also, there is interest in the different cultures. Considering the different cultures would give a whole other perspective that was done in this specific research. Regardless of where the culture was found either in the United States or in different countries, this was not considered or a focus of this research but would bring more in if I had conducted the research. Culture is very important and a big part of the world we live in. There can be many different approaches, programs, or polices to research to go along with this research question but in the end, there was an understanding that there were radical, ecological, medical, and intrapsychic models all a part of the influences.
It was extremely difficult in some ways to complete this paper without trying to include any form of bias. Never really realized that unknowingly some of my writing was bias until looking closer into it. There was some struggle with wording things many times due to my emotions getting in the way of the topic. It took a lot of self-control to not constantly type things in a form of unintended bias. In addition to overcoming the obstacle to remain as neutral as possible, it was a good learning experience.
The indicators that influence juvenile offenders at first was hard to find all the data since a lot of the research was done and published more on the United Kingdom. This is a problem not just in the United States but in many countries as well. I learned that in this form of work the work is never done and that we are slowly getting where we are supposed to be. There are more improvements every day and hopefully will keep in that direction to try to make the world a better place for everyone. The influences and guidance from our peers is extremely important and help to shape our everyday minds and behaviors. If we all come together to take care of each other then the world on its’ own would correct itself. As they say it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes us all as a nation to come together to help one another.
Bonnie, R. J. (2013). Reforming juvenile justice: a developmental approach. Washington, District of Columbia: The National Academies Press. from https://www.nap.edu/read/14685/chapter/4.
Justice, N. C. (n.d.). Law Enforcement & Juvenile Crime. from https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/crime/qa05101.asp
Kelley, T., Pransky, J., & Sedgeman, J. (2014). Realizing resilience in trauma exposed juvenile offenders: A promising new intervention for juvenile justice and prevention professionals. Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma, 7(3), 143-151. doi:10.1007/s40653-014-0018-8
Kerig, P. K., Ford, J. D., & Olafson, E. (2014). Assessing Exposure to Psychological Trauma and Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms in the Juvenile Justice Population. Retrieved from http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/assessing_trauma_in_jj_2014
PTSD: National Center for PTSD. (2016, June 10). Retrieved from https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/PTSD-overview/dsm5_criteria_ptsd.asp
Rubin, A., & Babbie, E. R. (2016). Essential research methods for social work (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Wilson, D. B., Bouffard, L. A., & Mackenzie, D. L. (2005, April). A Quantitative Review of Structured, Group-Oriented, Cognitive-Behavioral Programs for Offenders. Retrieved from http://journals.sagepub.com.proxy.longwood.edu/doi/pdf/10.1177/0093854804272889
Young, S., Greer, B., & Church, R. (2017, February 01). Juvenile delinquency, welfare, justice and therapeutic interventions: a global perspective. Retrieved from http://pb.rcpsych.org/content/41/1/21#sec-25
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