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Juvenile Justice System

  1. What is meant by the chapter opening quote?

The quote acting out in this chapter describes the behavior in which the youth freely convey their hostile impulses. They usually do it by reducing fretfulness aroused by prohibited desires by allowing their expressions. The outcomes of acting out are varied; cruelty, vandalism and murder.

2. The adult world stresses material and financial gain, social status and winning at any cost. Can children adjust to or understand this attitude? What values should be communicated to children regarding these attitudes?

Children will understand and adjust to that attitude if adults pay attention to values that will enable children understand that attitude. According to Drowns & Hess children will only understand this attitude when their parents communicate to them values like love, recognition and affection. With proper communication between the parents and children, frustrations and depression will disappear. Proper communication in this case will assist teens not only to balance between income and education, but also reduce on stress, boredom, loneliness and depression.

  1. Is acting out premeditated or impulsive? How can you tell?

Acting out is impulsive. As much as children who act out have a stronger sense of loyalty and conscience, their impulses become stronger than their conscience. Acting out is performed as a defensive mechanism; it’s not something they plan beforehand. Even the assailant confesses after killing a 16 year old village role model by saying she was terribly sorry and she does not understand how she did it. This perfectly indicates that the murder case was not premeditated.

4. Find a case in your area where a juvenile has been adjudicated mentally incompetent to stand a trial. Does the historical background of the youth indicate a crime would be committed?

There is a case where a 16 year old girl was adjudicated mentally incompetent for stabbing her father to death. The girl explained to the judge that the victim had severally raped her in the absence of their mother. She explained that she did not know how it happened but she was afraid of telling her mother that her dad had threatened to kill her and stop paying her school fees if she did so. The historical background of the youth could not indicate the occurrence of such an offense. The girl was well mannered and quite respectful. Even the mother was shocked. The judge sentenced her to life imprisonment.

  1. Adolescents continually send messages about concerns that may be traumatic for them, and adults often fail to interpret the messages. Why don’t some adults often fail to interpret the messages. Why don’t some adults listen to youths’ problems?

The reason as to why adults do not listen to adolescents problems is that they are always concerned with financial and material gain, social status and success in life very much. Talking of lower class parents; they are always absent leaving their adolescents in custody of their relatives as they endeavor to balance education, their involving careers and so much traveling.

  1. What are some factors in teen suicidal behavior?

Some of the factors that lead to suicidal behavior in adolescents are twofold: The first one is fantasy, in which negligence of their parents make them unable to deal with the environmental pressure. The second one is depression, where teens conceal obsession with trivia, overactivity and sexual promiscuity and drug addiction.

  1. What are common labels for different youths used in local high schools, e.g., nerd? How can the labels hurt youths?

Violating curfew and loitering are some of the labels youths use in schools. The juvenile justice system gave them a ruling and placed them in a different category. As Drowns & Hess put these labeling hurts of the youths as it leads in stigma that causes isolation.

  1. Can labels be beneficial? What might be some positive effects of labeling?

Yes, some labeling can be beneficial. Positive labeling of children born in a given society makes them conform to established codes and standards and perform in acceptable ways thus serving as role models to others.

  1. How can a youth overcome labels?

A youth can overcome labels by not living up to and incorporating the labels the society gives to them. The youth should also avoid committing crimes so as not to be labeled.

  1. Should status offenders be labeled delinquent? Does a court appearance by a status offender stigmatize the offender?

Status offenders can be labeled as delinquent. Delinquent is exemplified by loitering and violating curfews. The appearance of a status offender at a court does stigmatize him as it gives the offender some labeling that leads to stigmatization.

Chapter Eight

Why did the Uniform Juvenile Court Act come into existence? Has it had much impact on the various state juvenile court acts?

Juvenile Court Act came into existence to provide a context within which the discussion of courts, police along with corrections that can be laid down as well as illustrate the link between various parts of the system. According to Drowns & Hess there are five major reasons for its drafting. For starters, it was aimed at caring and protecting children as well as help to develop their moral, physical and mental abilities. Secondly, it’s also aimed at getting rid of criminal behavior of children and teaching them how to become well-behaved and law-abiding citizens. This could be achieved only by taking the unruly children for rehabilitation, treatment or training to let go off their bad behavior. In some situations, parents are not in a position to forcefully take care of their unruly children. The Juvenile Court Act therefore allows for the law enforcement authority to separate the children from their families either for their own good or for the sake of the large family. The fourth reason for the existence of the act is to put in place a simple judicial procedure that could be used by parties to get a fair hearing and recognition of their legal and constitutional rights. Since the justice system could sometimes be quite involving, this simple system could ensure that quick justice is provided to small-scale juvenile problems within the society. Lastly, it also ensures that different juvenile courts in different states could cooperate when required to do so . This act has had an impact on other state juvenile court acts as it has provisions that also affect the corrections and the police. To an extent, it has great impact on application of human rights, separating adults from children.

Should all states adopt the Uniform Juvenile Court Act and abolish their own? What are the advantages and disadvantages of one national act?

It might be a good idea if the entire country would be ruled by the same juvenile justice system since we all need a society where we feel safe. However, different states have their own ways of going about their businesses and what might work for one state might not necessarily work for another. It’s therefore not advisable for states to adopt a Uniform Juvenile Court Act and abolish their own. The fact that each and every state has already modified its own act based on this one should be good enough (Drowns & Hess, 1998). The advantage of a national act is that it provides protection, control and youth development. Moreover, it gives providence of a simple judicial process and simple procedures among states. It also eliminates the stigma of criminal labels via training, treatment and rehabilitation in family environment. The disadvantage of a Uniform Juvenile Court Act is the fact that it cannot fit all the states at the same time. This forces every state to modify it in order to fit its provisions.

  1. A juvenile, age 14, is brought before the juvenile court for allegedly repeatedly refusing to obey his parents’ orders to be home before ten o’clock at night. Would such behavior fall within the scope of most juvenile courts?

For a juvenile aged 14 alleged before the juvenile court for being unruly, such behavior would not fall within the scope of most juvenile courts as different states, like Illinois, do have different courts for different age groups.

  1. What is the most important purpose of the Uniform Juvenile Court Act?

The main purpose of Uniform Juvenile Court is to offer protection, control and youth development without the stigma of criminal labels by giving rehabilitation, treating and training programs.These programs ensure a simple judicial process among different states.

  1. Why does the Act not differentiate between treatment of abused or neglected children, status offenders and youths who commit serious, violent crimes?

A Uniform Juvenile Court Act does not distinguish between treatments of status offenders, neglected and abused children and youths that commit serious offence as they share the same human rights as adults that commit the same offence.

6. Given that the Act was passed in 1968, is it time for the Act to be revised?

It’s evident that the world is becoming a global village especially with development in technology. In doing so, things are changing and so should the Act change to remain relevant. The society in 2011 is so different from the way it was in 1968 when the Act was passed. Adolescents have become more active and are interactive. It’s necessary for Act to be modified to deal with such as hyperactive society.

  1. Does your state have its own Juvenile Court Act? If so, how does it differ from the federal act?

My state has its own Juvenile Court Act. The only distinction from the federal court act is that it has mandatory adult court requirements for different age groups for serious offences like murder.

Chapter Nine

  1. How are referrals handled in your state? Do police contribute the greatest percentage of referrals/

In my state, the procedure of handling referral for minor offences among youth involves the police taking the youths to the custodian of the juvenile. The custodian then dispenses justice on behalf of the court. Indeed police are the most contributors of referrals.

2. Do you believe police should make unofficial referrals, such as to community service agencies? What are the problems the police would face when referring youths to community service agencies?

Yes, the police should make unofficial referrals to the community service agencies as this act would be to the benefit of the children. In fact, if police take a youth to a community service agency without making further processing, it would necessitate to follow up. Follow ups provide services to the child and promote closer collaboration among the agencies involved. However, it would be problematic if the police was to make referrals of youth to the community service agencies. The external community is likely to put pressure on the department of police. In effect this will affect dispositions on some cases. Furthermore, it would call for the involved police officer to make follow up even after making a referral to the community service agency (Drowns & Hess, 1998).

  1. Do the police display a helping attitude towards youths when they make their referrals?

Most of the police do not display a helping attitude when dealing with youths involved in delinquent act. In fact most police release children without even warning them or making official records for further action.

  1. Do you believe the social standing, race and age of juveniles infleuce the referral procedure?

Juvenile’s age, social standing and race determine the procedure of referral. Youth are fond of lying about their true age. They manipulate their age when found in delinquent engagements. Youth usually prefer being treated like full adults so that they be jailed, taken to court and finally released after trial. For cases of status offence, investigations aimed for urban juveniles for petty theft are detained in protected facilities while those offenders from poor suburb areas will be send home for parental discipline before being issued with arrest warrant.

  1. Should acts of violence by a juvenile automatically be referred to a detention facility?

Violence by juvenile should not automatically be detained in a court of law. Taking them in juvenile court system could protect and offer justice to abused ones thus making them stay away from their bully families.

  1. Which do you think is most effective: “street justice” by police, or processing juveniles through the court system? Why?

As Drowns & Hess (1998) explain, it is clear that juvenile processing in court system is more effective than street justice. With juvenile process, children are defended by all legal and social requirements. Children stand to benefit more than they would do with street justice. First and foremost, the court system ensures that all children’s rights are observed with utmost devotion. Secondly, a crime performed by a juvenile has to be soundly proven and all state efforts are aimed at reducing and correlating the cause of crime instead of punishment for committing it.

  1. In the real world, do juveniles get fair treatment by the police or are they coerced into conforming and obeying? Can you provide any personal experiences to support your position?

In real life juvenile do not get fair treatment from police. They are persuaded into obeying and conforming. In early 2007, my friends and I were coming back after a whole night of clubbing. Since most of us had taken one too many, the police officer who was barely 25 took and locked us up in facility. After a three hour lecture on self control and how a judge ruling would automatically make us pay a fine we were freed at 6 o’clock on the same day.

  1. Do police fabricate reports to hassle juveniles when information is provided to juvenile authority? Support your answer.

Police do not fabricate reports at all to hassle juvenile in instances where information is provided to the authority. It’s a fact that at times police do” hassle” and “roust” teens that perform social offense only that they do not go ahead reporting the incidences (Drowns & Hess, 1998).

  1. What are predelinquent indicators and how can they be identified?

Predelinquent indicators include runaways and are identified from public concern on the youths’ welfare and safety. These indicators should be observed to prevent the society from losing its ability to control criminal activities and antisocial behaviors. The runaways can be identified from cases of murders, burglary, prostitution and drug abuse.

11. Should the police use informal social control on juveniles? Should the police take justice into their own hands? Why or why not?

The police officers dealing with juvenile cases should not use informal social control. This is because their main duties as far as juveniles are concerned are perform investigation, protect, prevent further delinquency, determine the causes of the delinquency and properly dispose the case. They should also not take justice into their own hands. Taking justice into their own hands will involve judging and punishing juveniles instead of helping them change. And if they take the role of the court in their own hands, the community would not accept it too.

Chapter Ten

  1. What are some methods schools could use to prevent truancy?

In order to prevent truancy, schools could use different methods. First and foremost, they should offer realistic programs for marginalized students and those students that achieve low. In addition, they could provide counseling on individual basis as well as employ teacher with willing hearts to reach out to all students. Moreover, the school could put forward adequate school and community weekend and evening activities to keep students busy.

2. Why do youths become truants? Is truancy the responsibility of the school, parents, or youths?

Youths become truants because their parents and relatives do not provide a nurturing and caring environment for them to stay in. Likewise, youths become truants when schools are not supportive in initiating self control and discipline in them. Truancy is a responsibility of all parents, schools and youths themselves. Through education, schools can instill moral development among the youths. These schools can teach youths to become more responsible through the use of punishment and pain that are the part of the disciplinary procedures. On their own, youth have an obligation to make constructive and warm association between teachers and parents (Drowns & Hess, 1998). Youths also ought to develop strong relationships amongst themselves as they spend most of their time with colleagues. Parental discipline is very important to a youth. Discipline from parents guides their youths into the future as self-controlled young people.

  1. Why should an individual be forced to get an education? Is refusing to go to school a delinquent act? Why or why not?

Individuals should be forced to attain education so as to avoid problems such as theft, alcoholism, delinquency, drugs and truancy. Of course refusing to get schooling is considered a delinquent act. This is because, currently schools put more emphasis on problems like delinquency thus anyone avoiding it will be shunning away from a good chance to eliminate it.

4. Should schools be forced into continually having to accept disruptive and incorrigible students? What are some alternatives? Do you think this matter is best resolved in the juvenile court? If not, where?

Schools should not be forced into taking incorrigible and disruptive students at all. Drowns & Hess (1998) state that schools are suffering from vandalism of about $200 million per year. Besides, it is believed that 400,000 crimes takes place in schools annually. It is not logical to continue admitting unruly students to cause more mayhem. The alternative available is to take such students to reform schools. So these incorrigible and disruptive students can change and perform in reform schools, is a clear indication that they would perform in life too. This matter cannot be well resolved in juvenile court system. This system protects students rights while in school: freedom of speech and freedom of free search and seizure. However, it favors school management in times of crisis than the student. Some schools do contribute to the youths becoming truants, antisocial and incorrigible.

  1. Do schools contribute to the problem of youths who are disruptive, antisocial, incorrigible and truants? How?

Some schools cause problems like incorrigible, disruption, truancy and antisocial among the youths by not giving realistic programs for students that do not score highly. They do not provide counseling programs on a personal level. In addition, they have a lack of willing teachers who can reach out to all students.

  1. Do learning disabilities contribute to the delinquent behavior of individuals in school? How should such behavior be handled?

Learning disabilities like students with low IQs can lead to delinquency. This can be solved by placing all students with learning disability in one class and so reduce their frustration and ease their delinquency.

7. Do society, schools and parents expect too much from youths who display unacceptable behavior in and out of school? How can such behavior be adjusted? Should the youths be put into the juvenile justice system?

At times schools, society and parents expect so much from youths who later disappoint them. Sometimes families and churches are not available when the youths really need them. It forces the youth to devise their own value system to strengthen their culture. Such behavior can be adjusted by depicting the system of education as an anchor on which the community, family, church and other social service agencies can create a universal network to reduce juvenile behavior (Drowns & Hess, 1998). The youth should not be put in a juvenile court system as the Supreme Court has set a standard of reasonableness for dealing with student rights cases.

  1. How can teachers become more sensitive to the problems of youth?

Teachers should become sensitive to youths’ problems by promoting positive values in school. They should also avoid practices that encourage failure.

  1. What were teachers like in your school? Did you ever feel like rebelling or staying way from school? Why? What could be changed?

Although teachers in my former school were objective, I disliked their way of grading. I felt like rebelling in school. My feeling for rebellion was because those teachers did not distinguish grading for real exams, continuous assessment tests and assignments. I believe they should actually change their grading policies.