Throughout this document four areas pertaining to a juveniles arrest is researched and discussed. The topics are an explanation of the decrease in juvenile arrests, the increase in drug offenses and simple assaults, suggestions for juvenile females and minorities, and two assessment methods utilized to collect data regarding juvenile arrests and crime trends.
Numerous factors exist that can explain why the United States has witnessed a decrease in juvenile arrests over the last few decades. In the 1990s the economy was strong, which provided juveniles and parents with a wide-range of employment opportunities. Employment permits juveniles and parents a sense of self-worth and offers a means to purchase materialistic items. In addition, governmental policies were created and implemented that affected many areas in the market for illegal drugs and firearms, such as the get tough policies that derive from the war on drugs and crime (Butts, 2010).
Furthermore, certain juvenile judges are in favor of issuing harsher punishments or “just deserts” to the serious juvenile offender. This in return, expanded imprisonment, or the use of youth detention facilities. On the other hand, an equal portion of juvenile judges are opposed to incarceration and use rehabilitation as an alternative. Rehabilitation and treatment programs are designed to remove negative characteristics and replace with positive ones. Rehabilitation has been extremely beneficial to the reduction in recidivism. Law enforcement has further played a significant factor with the decrease in juvenile arrests as a result of developing new innovative methods and strategies that have proven affective with preventing and deterring juveniles from engaging in criminal and delinquent activity. The last factor is societies increasing cultural intolerance for violent behavior (Butts, 2010).
A growing concern with drug offenses, and assaults by juveniles has been a topic of discussion since the late 1980s. Many professionals, political leaders, and society have debated about the reasons for the increasing juvenile violence that takes place throughout the United States. Some believe the increase is the result of a growing population. Others believe the increase is the result of a sympathetic criminal justice system that needs to be more punitive and sentence juveniles to the adult criminal court system. Whereas others continue to blame the abundance of available drugs that enter the United States along with the violence are youth is subjected to on TV, radio, movies, and videos games. Legislation and many states have recently fashioned and put into effect laws that allow judges to sanction harsher punishments. The war on drugs and crime has continued to be the primary cause for such laws to be created, but with the purpose of punishing the juvenile offender (The National Academic Press, 2001).
Research displays that juvenile females and minority females engage in activity that is far less serious than their male counterpart. A majority of females are apprehended for committing status offenses, such as running away from home, violations involving curfew, larceny-theft, behavioral issues, and drug, and alcohol abuse. In addition, research has further displayed a majority of females involved with the juvenile justice system were either sexually or physically assaulted or exploited, reside in a single-parent home or in the ghetto, possess insufficient social and work related skills, and more than 50% are either African American or Hispanic. This unequal proportion clearly displays a substantial racial and ethnic disparity in the juvenile justice system (Bergsmann, 1989).
The juvenile justice system perceives female offenders as sexual deviants in need of protection. Methods used to collect juvenile offender information, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigations Uniform Crime Report (UCR) provides little information by gender. This in return, has created many problems within the juvenile justice system as judges and correctional facilities are left without research that could be beneficial when determining how to go about dealing with a particular situation. Over the last few decades the juvenile justice system has focused on implementing rehabilitation as a means to affectively deal with juveniles. The problem is females make up a small portion of juvenile offenders and programs designed to educate, teach work-related skills, or focus on female related concerns are lacking for females (University of Phoenix, 2010).
In 1926 the National Juvenile Court Data Archive was an assessment method used to track and collect information regarding juveniles who have been arrested and charged with a crime, and measures juvenile crime trends. The NJCDA contains more than 800,000 case records collected annually from numerous participating jurisdictions throughout the United States. The information is available to researchers and for investigative purposes. The database provides information pertaining to a juvenile’s age during the time of arrest, gender, ethnicity, residence, type of offenses the juvenile has been charged with by the state, date of transfer, processing characteristics of the case, such as incarceration, and the case disposition. In 1975, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention took over the responsibility of collecting and providing such information. The OJJDP obtains court dispositional records, distributes current juvenile offender data, and summarizes important delinquency statistics and trends (University of Phoenix, 2010).
The result is a society and criminal justice system that has witnessed a decrease in juvenile crime in one aspect while observing an increase with juveniles experimenting with drugs and alcohol, and committing serious acts of violence, such as assaults. Research clearly displays female and minority offenders commit crime much different from males, and are treated different by the juvenile justice system. Fortunately, with methods to gather and provide information on juveniles, such as the National Juvenile Court Data Archive and the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, researchers, law enforcement, corrections, and professionals will be much more likely to effectively deal with juveniles in a positive manner.
Bergsmann, I. (1989). The Forgotten Few: Juvenile Female Offenders. Retrieved September 19, 2010, from http://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?collection=journals&handle=hein.journals/fedpro53&div=13&id=&page=
Butts, J. (2010). Urban Institute: Youth Crime Drop. Retrieved September 18, 2010, from http://www.urban.org/url.cfm?ID=410246&renderforprint=1&CFID=73146181&CFTOKEN=10220839&jsessionid=b2309e72a70262235927
The National Academic Press. (2001). Juvenile Crime and Juvenile Justice: Commission on Behavior and Social Sciences and Education. Retrieved September 18, 2010, from http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=9747&page=25
University of Phoenix. (2010). Week one overview. Retrieved September 17, 2010, from University of Phoenix, Week One, rEsource. CJA403-Interdiscplinary Capstone Course Website.