Please discuss any future trends in Juvenile Justice that you feel may improve upon or take away from the Juvenile Justice System
I agree with the first post that the financial crisis, which is likely to get worse long before it gets better (if, in fact, it ever does get better), is likely to affect the juvenile justice system as well as many other functions of government. Unfortunately, if the past is at all any indication of the future, programs for talented students are likely to be cut long before programs for those for the criminally inclined. State support for colleges has declined hugely in the last ten years; state support for prisons has held steady or greatly grown.
In regards to juvenile justice, there seems to be a trend in our community towards programs like justice councils or teen courts, where young people are go to a "trial" bytheir peers where other teens serve as lawyers for the prosecution and the teen jury decides on the type of punishment that is given. A caveat of the program is that the teen must admidt his or her guilt, but is given a lessor sentence in the hopes of catching the bad behavior early and nipping it in the bud.
One crucial factor that is so important to discuss in all of this is the rehabilitation of prisoners and the way that letting justice be viewed as just a harsh punishing body doesn't necessarily help with getting offenders to not re-offend and return to a lifestyle of crime and being in and out of prison. This to me is the most worrying trend of juvenile crime, and for America, which has prisons packed full of offenders, trying to rehabilitate juvenile criminals rather than punishing them harshly should be a top priority.
The main trends that I see are ones that are likely to have a negative effect on the juvenile justice system. These are A) the fiscal problems that state and local governments are experiencing and B) the desire on the part of the public for harsher treatment of offenders.
Both of these trends seem likely to cause the juvenile justice system to get worse. The juvenile system's main goal ought to be the rehabilitation of juvenile offenders. The system ought to be geared to helping them get back on the right track to becoming productive members of society. However, this is a goal which needs money to achieve. In our current climate of budget cutting it is likely that less money will be available to help juvenile offenders. At the same time, helping such offenders goes against the public desire for harsher punishment. Instead of a move to help juvenile offenders, we see a greater desire to charge them as adults. When combined with a lack of resources, this trend will make it much harder to create and maintain a juvenile justice system that will give offenders the help they need.