Innumerable advancements and innovations have profoundly contributed to the betterment of the lives of the human race in the twenty first century. This trend of progression is surging ahead at a rapid pace; however, it is very unfortunate to declare that many of the social dilemmas also exist in this industrialized world that is making millions of residents suffer from its drastic outcomes. While taking the country of United States into consideration, the facts and figures statistical records apparently reveal the information that the nation is full of culturally diverse people that belong to different racial and ethnic groups (Holman & Ziedenberg, 2013).
In this diverse society, juvenile violence and crime has become one of widespread as well as prominent social issue with grave consequences. Due to the elevated crime rate (amongst the juveniles) within the country, detention is one of critical phases in the justice process, where a huge number of young adults are being held under the detention cells on a national basis. This kind of punishment largely leading to negative consequences and aftereffects amongst the juveniles that is demanding some better solutions that can lead to a bright future for the young adults, families, and communities on whole (Holman & Ziedenberg, 2013).
Juvenile detention alternative initiative (JDAI) is one of the solution programs that have been launched in the earlier years of the decade 1990 by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. This institute had constantly strived so that they can bring a positive human being out of the juveniles that has been involved in some sort of criminal activities and have been found eligible for detention under the justice system (The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2013).
Therefore, they initiated the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) that can support their cause to provide opportunities to the juveniles (under detention) so that they can bring out positive and productive personalities out of them. The foundation has been well aware of the enduring harmful and negative consequences (on youth development as well as public safety) of the inappropriate detentions of the juveniles. Therefore, this program has been launched as one of effective, influential and widespread juvenile justice system reform initiatives on national basis (The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2013).
Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative has been designed with the primary intention to cut down the unnecessary imprisonment or detention of the youth in the county. Indeed, this program is intended to focus on the well-being of the community while at the same time foster positive youth development with fairness and equality. Moreover, this program is also determined to eradicate racial and ethnic disparities that have been observed through the statistical records of juvenile detention records. Therefore, this program is a collaborative effort that is based on community engagement, shared accountability, and effective alternatives to detention as its essential tools (The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2013).
The fundamental objectives with which Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative has been designed include: (The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2013)
Reduction and eradication of the inappropriate use of detention amongst the youths
Curtail re-arrest rates of the juveniles found guilty of crime and eligible for detention
Minimize failure rates of youths appearing to justice system that leads to pending adjudication
Ensure that the youths are being held under appropriate conditions in facilities during detention or imprisonment
Eliminate youth racial and ethnic inequalities when detained.
In order to achieve the core objective of juvenile detention alternative initiative (JDAI), the sites have developed eight interrelated strategies that facilitate in accomplishing the goals and overall vision of the program: (The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2013)
1. Collaborative approach is the principal strategy that focuses on the partnership and alliance between major juvenile justice agencies, governmental bodies, and community organizations. These entities work as a team to address the reforms that is based on joint planning and policymaking.
2. Diagnoses of the issues of system as well evaluation of the impact of reforms are both essential and critical to accomplish the goals. However, these both aspects are achieved with the use of accurate data.
3. Objective admissions criteria and instruments are typically developed and used that can help in the decision making process for detentions at all points.
4. New, enhanced and better non-secure alternatives to detention need to be designed that can be implemented so that the options available for arrested youth can be increased to a significant level.
5. Case processing reforms needs to be established that can accelerate the flow of cases through the system. These changes must focus on the reduction of lengths of stay in custody and make sure that the interventions are timely and appropriate.
6. The special detention cases, where the youth has been in detention because of violations, warrants, and those awaiting placement, needs to be re-assessed with the implementation of new practices that can lead to minimization of the youths in the secure facility
7. Strategies for reducing as well as eliminating racial disparities need to be developed that can make sure that the youth of color is receiving equal and unbiased treatment.
8. Improving the overall conditions of confinement would be the outcome when knowledgeable individuals inspect and examine the facilities on routine basis by applying rigorous protocols and ambitious standards.
The members of the juvenile justice system and the community people (aimed to develop a fair and effective system for the positive youth outcomes) are working in partnership so that they can create a safe environment for the entire community. Therefore, the focus of the program is particularly on the reduction of the detention centers especially for the troubled and distressed young adults who are not posing threat to the community, and need help from the specialists (The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2013).
The services that are offered to the youth at the juvenile detention alternative initiative typically include counseling sessions that can help them develop positive behavior, employment assistance so that they can lead a better life, detention screening process and so on. These services are usually offered to those young adults who are found guilty for commitment of a crime and send to the detention centers (The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2013).
Over the years, awareness about the program has increased to paramount heights, such that it is also receiving a great deal of public support for the improvement, modification, and development in detention program strategies, policies, and the initiative in general. This indicates the fact that how influential role Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative plan is playing in the youth justice system (The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2013).
From the results of the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative program, it has apparently come to notice that this program has accomplished its objective of keeping the communities safe. This is declared because the juvenile population held in the detention has been lowered, which indicates that the violent crime and arrest rate for felony crime has fell to a significant level over the years. In addition, the results also exhibit that racial disparities has also reduced to a major proportion (The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2007).
The other objective of the plan that was to help the youth succeed has also been accomplished. This has been proved from the records of the high school graduate students that have clearly demonstrated more students are likely to successfully pass out from high school. Moreover, the juveniles under detention initiative program have also demonstrated positive personality traits that lead to constructive relationship development within the community (The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2013).
Significance of Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative
From the statistical records of the crime rates within the country, it has come to an observation that increasing number of young adults is nowadays more involved in criminal activities and felony crimes. This indicates the troubling trends amongst the juveniles that are leading them to perform such illegal actions. In addition, it is also prudent to note that detentions as a part of the punishment from the justice system is also becoming a leading cause of distressed personalities (as severe negative consequences) of juveniles that promote them to commit such violent crimes (Holman & Ziedenberg, 2013).
Wide ranging studies have brought the fact into the limelight that delinquency cases and detention (as punishment) leaves an indelible imprint on the lives and personalities of the juveniles. In fact, detention (specifically in case if it leads to a lengthy correctional period) is associated with significant negative long-term consequences, as the natural maturational process of the youth are interrupted, thus, leading to the development of delinquent behavior in their later adulthood (Holman & Ziedenberg, 2013).
However, with reference to the increasing trend of crime at an unprecedented rate within the nation, it become essential to initiate some kind of program that can particularly focus on reversing the troubling trends in juvenile justice. Moreover, safe reduction and minimization of the juvenile detention population has also become an essential need (Austin, Johnson & Weitzer, 2005). Therefore, Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) program has been initiated by…