Today,juvenile crime is increasing daily in most communities.Correspondingly, forces policy makers and community leaders haveresorted to coming up with violent juvenile and delinquencyprevention programs to deal with juvenile crime issues. For example,my community has formulated School-based Bullying Prevention Programsto deal with bullying in school.
Thisprogram is implemented in schools and learning institution settingswhere students report high cases of bullying. According to Bartollasand Miller (2011), about twenty percent of students in primary andhigh schools reports bullying experience either by being callednames, made fun of, or insulted. In addition, the rate of studentsreported to have participated in school bullying ranges from ten tofifty percent.
Themain components of School-Based Prevention Program are to createawareness-raising efforts, school exclusion, therapeutic treatmentfor bullies, and mediation and conflict resolution. The programorganises meetings for parents, teachers, and students to createawareness about the bullying problems. Secondly, the program workstowards “zero tolerance.” It states that whenever students becomebully, then they should be excluded from school until they changetheir behaviours. Thirdly, the program aims to offers therapeutictreatment to bullies. This includes offering lessons in angermanagement to boost self-esteem of bullies. Fourthly, the programoffers mediation and conflict resolution by offering school staffmembers with strategies to deal with bullying. The program is usefulin helping teachers to address the violent behaviours among students.
However,this program is not a hundred percent effective. The program seemsinsufficient to change students’ behaviours and the cultural norms.According to Bartollas et. el., (2011), school exclusion is not asolution to school bullying. Instead, it decreases reportedincidences of bullying and negatively affects learning of students.Additionally, the concept of offering mediation and conflictresolution can backfire when resolving a bullying situation. Thevictim and the bully blame each other hence, victimize the solution.
Althoughmany delinquency programs have been formed to reduce juvenile crime,most of them are ineffective. Bartollas et. al., (2011), states thatmost delinquency programs are ineffective because they lackcharacteristics of an effective program. Research shows that mostdelinquency programs do not have adequate dosage and intensity. Asuccessful program exposes its participants to intervention that arelong lasting and have a positive effect. This is unlike delinquencyprograms where they have fewer contact hours, low level ofparticipants’ engagement, and fewer activities. In addition, theseprograms lack follow-up sessions to check on the progressive of theparticipant.
Secondly,some delinquency program uses ineffective approach to prevent andtreat delinquencies. For instance, not all programs understand thedifferent factors that exist across different genders. Normally, theygroup both male and female together when creating prevention andtreatment program. Therefore, it becomes multifaceted to decreasejuvenile crime because treatments are not gender oriented to make asignificant difference.
Further,most programs do not consider cultural diversity while formulatingdelinquency program. The risk factor that leads to juvenile crimevaries depending on region, ethnicity, race, and socioeconomic statusof the juvenile. Nevertheless, most programs do not consider thesecultural variations while providing treatment to juvenile.
Althougha punishment is a good strategy to deal with crime, it is noteffective for juvenile offenders. Rehabilitation and punishmentshould not be confused to be the same. Bartollas et. al., (2011),urges that a punishment serve the best when dealing with the exactpenalty of the offender. Punishment does not significantly reducerecidivism but rather increases it. Most delinquency program exposesharsh and intimidating conditions to juvenile offenders similar tojail. They believe that punishing and scaring them will deter themfrom delinquent behaviours. Unfortunately, this is not alwayssuccessful. Studies show that exposing a juvenile to harsh conditionis an ineffective way to prevent delinquent behaviour.
Regularly,delinquent youth lacks economic and social support from the societyafter undergoing delinquency program. Therefore, they are likely toengage back to juvenile crime after a process of reformation.Subsequently, aftercare programs have been formulated and implementedto offer supervision, guidance, and resources to reform them back tothe society (Bartollas, 2011).
Themain objective of an aftercare program for juvenile is to provide asupportive network to the young offenders as they reform and go backto their communities. In addition, the aftercare program aim toempower troubled juvenile by offering them medical services,educational resource and counselling so that they can comfortably fitin the society, seek employment, fit in the social connections,attend learning institution, and become productive people. Theyensure a smooth transition from detention back to the society.
Itis important that institutions that offer the aftercare care to planhow to attain their objectives. They should consider the followingelements for successful aftercare and transition. Firstly, theyshould conduct risk assessment and classification. This will maximizecrime reduction and ensure a smooth transition (Bartollas, 2011).Next, they should link the youth offenders with the social networks.Most aftercare program focuses on school, peer, family, and communityissues hence, the program managers should create strong socialnetworks.
Bartollas,C., & Miller, S.J. (2011). Juvenile justice in America (6th ed.).Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.