Juvenile Delinquency Drug Crimes Term Paper

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Intervening With Juvenile Drug Crimes

Researchers are now focused on developing and evaluating programs designed to break the drug-crime cycle that is common in juvenile delinquents. This paper will summarize existing literature about programs designed to prevent the juvenile drug-crime cycle and, based on that literature, identify interventions that offer the best chances for success. This paper will also provide guidelines and recommendations for developing a comprehensive juvenile justice system that can best address the needs of juvenile offenders involved with drug crimes.

This thesis is expected to make a contribution to the selection of successful interventions and the development of collaborative partnerships in the juvenile justice system, drug treatment programs, and other agencies as they attempt to break the cycle of drugs and crime afflicting U.S. juveniles.


With the prevalence of drug crimes among juveniles and the complexity involved in their treatment, which must involve both the child and his living environment, the traditional juvenile justice process is often unable to deal effectively with the entire problem. The juvenile drug court aims to fill this gap by providing immediate and continuous court intervention that includes requiring the juvenile to get treatment, submit to frequent drug testing, appear at court status hearings, and comply with other court conditions aimed at accountability, rehabilitation, long-term sobriety, and preventing further criminal activity. Enhancements introduced by the juvenile drug court to the traditional court process for handling juvenile drug cases include:

Immediate intervention by the court and continuous supervision of the progress of the juvenile by the judge;

Development of a program of treatment and rehabilitation services that addresses both the needs of the child and his family;

Judicial oversight and coordination of treatment and rehabilitation services provided to increase accountability and reduce duplication of effort;

Immediate response by the court to the needs of the child and to noncompliance issues; and Judicial leadership in bringing together the schools, treatment resources, and other community agencies to work collaboratively to meet the drug court's goals.

Researchers and other parties have made many attempts to break the juvenile drug-crime cycle. However, few attempts have demonstrated consistent scientific results. This report summarizes existing literature about various efforts to intervene in the juvenile drug-crime cycle and proposes interventions and changes that are most likely to effectively address that cycle. This report will serve as a guide to help practitioners, administrators, and policymakers select effective interventions and develop collaborative partnerships among the juvenile justice system, drug treatment programs, and other community agencies seeking to break the cycle of drugs and crime among youths in the United States.

For more than twenty years, researchers have recognized the link between drugs and juvenile crime. Across the United States, the majority of juvenile delinquents entering the justice system are involved, in some way, with drugs. According to researchers, juvenile drug use is related to recurring, chronic, and violent delinquency that tends to stretch into adulthood. Juvenile drug use is also strongly linked to poor health, failing family relationships, negative school performance, and various other social and psychological problems.

It is important to note that the drug-crime link does not always mean that juvenile drug use will lead to criminal activity. However, according to recent research, a small group of serious and violent juvenile offenders who are also serious drug users accounts for more than half of all serious crimes committed by juvenile delinquents.

Statement of the Problem

Various studies have documented the existence, nature, and implications of the juvenile drug-crime cycle and many parties have also tried to intervene in that cycle. However, few of these interventions have been Thus, this paper will analyze the link between juvenile delinquency and drug crime, in an attempt to reveal the best ways to break the cycle. This paper will focus on the following questions:

1. What types of efforts programs have been most successful in addressing the juvenile delinquent drug-crime cycle?

2. What type of system would incorporates the strengths of the juvenile justice system, drug treatment programs, and other community agencies?

3. What are the main steps involved in successfully implementing interventions and programs dedicated to breaking the drug-crime cycle?

Literacy and Juvenile Drug Crimes

One of the major characteristics shared by juvenile drug crime offenders is illiteracy.It is no secret that a lack of morality contributes to crime. However, it is less obvious that illiteracy is a major contributing factor to crime in the U.S. According to Danny Black, illiteracy is "one of the major causes of the rise of crime and delinquency (Citizens Commission on Human Rights, 2000)." For this reason, it is a main priority to teach juvenile drug offenders to read and write during their program.

According to Black, teaching children to read would "reduce a lot of the problems with children trying to get out of school and running into mandatory attendance laws. And then getting sent to juvenile court, which in turn, sends them to a psychiatric program. And the kids come back from there on psychiatric drugs or having learned from the other kids up there how to manipulate and use the system."

The link between illiteracy and juvenile drug crimes is one that goes way back. Michael S. Brunner, Visiting Research Fellow at the U.S. Department of Justice, reported that "the link between academic failure and delinquency is strong.... Schools are apparently contributing to the delinquency problem by continuing to provide traditional programming that... leaves many students, after six years of instruction, unable to read accurately, fluently and effortlessly with comprehension.... What brings about the delinquency is not the academic failure per se, but sustained frustration which results from continued failure to achieve selected academic goals (Citizens Commission on Human Rights, 2000)."

It makes sense. If an individual is unable to read, he is unable to participate in many of the opportunities that literate people take for granted, including:

Obtaining and retaining a good job

Understanding simple directions

Participating in higher education

Illiterate people are also burdened by illiteracy's social stigma, which labels them as failures. It is apparent that illiteracy hinders an individual's ability to succeed in many ways. As a result, illiteracy increased feelings of hopelessness and crime.

According to the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (2000), "to exacerbate this, psychiatry's denial of this truth means that their so-called "rehabilitation" programs entirely fail to address one of the single biggest causes of crime. The brutal truth is that these people have not a clue as to what makes the mind work. If they did, they could cure somebody. But they can't and don't. It is obvious, for crime statistics have soared since these arch criminals wormed their way into the field of crime."

The goal of psychiatry is to improve "mental health." However, in today's society, young people are "subjected to a continuous bombardment of the psychiatric philosophy that there is no true right or wrong, only opinion." They are encouraged to follow their feelings instead of doing what they know is right. As a result, violence, drugs and promiscuity are rampant in the U.S. Juveniles believe that they are victims of society, rather than individuals who are capable of achieving their dreams. In addition, due to many cracks in the educational system, by the time they finish school, many young people are unable to read.

Therefore, it is important to find a clear link between illiteracy and juvenile delinquency. Through a review of existing literature and a series of surveys and interviews, this study will determine what steps need to be taken to improve literacy and decrease juvenile offenses.

According to Kaplan (1995): "Each year over 700,000 graduate from high school unable to read their high school diploma. The U.S. Department of Education says that 20% of American adults are functionally illiterate. Functional illiterates can read words but they cannot comprehend their meanings, synthesize information or make decision based on what they read. And marginally illiterate people feel most comfortable receiving information in a visual format, relying more on television than print for information."

According to Los Angeles County District Attorney Gil Garcetti, "It is incredible -- the ability of the very young to commit the most horrendous crimes imaginable and not have a second thought about it. This was unthinkable 20 years ago (Citizens Commission on Human Rights, 2000).

The following statistics are important when examining the link between literacy and juvenile delinquency (Citizens Commission on Human Rights, 2000):

1991 survey revealed that the largest number of murderers that year came from the 15 to 19-year-old age group. Children aged between 10 and 14 arrested for murder increased by 55% in the four years 1988-1992. In one year, 1991, the number of children arrested for murder increased by 27.5%.

Between 1987 and 1992, the number of youths under the age of 18 arrested for murder had more than doubled.

The number of children under the age of 15 who were arrested for violent robbery increased 78% (from 6,470 to 11,514) between 1988 and 1992. For all children under the age…[continue]

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