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Gang Control Methods
Law Enforcement Efforts
The traditional police personnel from the youth unit control the gang.
Police officers from youth or detective unit are charged with controlling activities of the gang.
Setting up of gang unit within the police to exclusively control gang activity.
The Chicago Police Department set up gang crime section to process information on gangs and gang leaders.
The Los Angeles Police Department engages in crime breaking activities that involve arresting, prosecution, conviction and incarceration of gang leaders.
Community Control Efforts
The detached street worker program works with gangs in their own turf. Those facilitating these programs participate in gang activities to get to know their members.
Spergel's Community Gang Control Program is one such body that engages in community mobilization to control gang activities.
Adapted from Siegel & Welsh, 2005
Gangs always appeal to adolescents' primitive tribal instincts. According to this theory members of a gang will always use signs and symbols.
This theory posits that gangs will always appeal to poor kids who live in disorganized neighborhood. You can always recognize such gangs based on their locations and membership.
Psychological theory holds that gangs provide "refuge" to the youth who are politically disturbed. Such youths will always engage in gang violence and drug/substance abuse.
The rational choice theory posits that gangs are means for survival and profit for the membership. This explains the mentality behind drug trafficking and the activities that organized criminals engage in. Gang members would always want to protect their turf and members.
Adapted from Siegel & Welsh, 2005
The concept of probation is coined from the Latin probatio which means testing. It basically means testing of one's behavior or abilities. In the legal context, the individual under probation is compelled to follow conditions set out by the court of law. Individuals involved in domestic violence, drug traffickers, sexual offenders, and criminal gang members who have not attained majority age can be put under probation (Kokemuller, 2013). An individual is put on probation on condition that he cannot be a threat to the safety of the general public or if he cannot come into contact with a former partner in crime.
Juvenile probation officers/probation officers are involved in the supervision of the offenders. They take active interest in assigned offenders by meeting them and their family members on regular basis. They keep them up-to-date with the events and activities in their lives. They are also actively involved in rehabilitation of the offenders. This they do to help offenders establish and maintain a law-abiding life (Kokemuller, 2013). They collaborate with social services departments to identify relevant counseling, educational, employment and housing opportunities. Offenders with electronic monitoring devices are actively monitored by probation officers. The officers also research offenders' background and evaluate their behavior during probation and write report that assists the court in arriving at an appropriate punishment. Information provided by probation officers is integral at parole board and court hearings.
Law enforcement efforts endeavor to reduce the supply of drugs as well as deterring would-be drug users. The source control strategy deters sale of drugs through apprehension of large volume drug dealers. It punishes known dealers and users. These efforts have not succeeded in some areas where they have resulted in a shift in production to another area. Border control has also been intensified to interdict drug supplies. Some strategies have also targeted dealers where law enforcement agencies focus on drug trafficking (Siegel & Welsh, 2005).
Education programs like D.A.R.E. have also been rolled out that target teenage substance abusers. These programs teach students techniques to resist peer pressure. The D.A.R.E program failed to prevent student drug use. It also failed to change the students' attitude towards drugs (Siegel & Welsh, 2005).
Community strategies that targeted high-risk youths were also instituted. Such programs offered counseling, medical care and encouraged school achievement.
Kokemuller, N. (2013). What are the Duties of a Probation Officer? The Houston Chronicles.
Siegel, L.J. & Welsh, B.C. (2005). Juvenile Delinquency: The Core. New York: Wardsworth.
The English Common Law and the early American colonial law subjected juveniles aged seven or older to trial in adult courts so long as they were deemed legally competent (Austin, Johnson & Gregoriou, 2000). The reform movement that took place between 1825 and 1899 in the United States introduced some changes in philosophy towards juveniles in the criminal law system. After the reform movement, children were seen as immature, malleable and developing individuals who were different entities from the adults. As opposed to applying the retributive justice for the adults, the reformers advocated for educating and nurturing children so that they could become productive members of the society as opposed to being housed with adult criminals (Barry, 1999). Housing the children with the adult offenders would mould these children into hardened criminals. Because of these reformers agitations, a separate juvenile court was established in Chicago.
The reformers further advanced that the formal structure of the criminal court had to be abandoned if the judges were to properly determine the specialized care every juvenile before the court was to be accorded, depending on the peculiar needs of each child, an objective that was not achieved. This did not auger well with the public who had no confidence in juvenile court determinations. The juvenile courts therefore, as indicated by the Supreme Court, denied the juveniles the due process of law under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States constitution and this included the right to a timely notice on the possible charges as well as cross examination. These included the right to timely notice of the charges, confrontation and cross examination (Austin, Johnson & Gregoriou, 2000). Other rights that the juveniles were denied were proof beyond reasonable doubt and the privilege against self-incrimination. The courts as at 1980 still mandatorily transferred serious juvenile offenders to adult criminal courts.
The paper seeks to assess one of the controversial issues in the juvenile justice system while supporting the view that juvenile justice system ought to focus on rehabilitation. The paper specifically illuminates how rehabilitation impacts law enforcement, court processes, probation, corrections, community services and intervention programs. The paper also focuses on rehabilitation counter-arguments and why they are not as valid as the arguments that have been highlighted supporting rehabilitation. The paper finally outlines how the advantages of rehabilitation in juvenile justice system outweigh disadvantages.
It is common practice these days for juveniles serving blended sentence who have attained majority age to be transferred to adult facilities to serve the remainder of their mandatory minimum sentence. Because many juveniles are at times transferred to adult courts, the adult correctional facilities have come up with a raft of sentencing schemes. Juveniles housed in adult correctional facilities are violently victimized and even sexually assaulted. Juveniles taken to adult incarceration jurisdictions are often sentenced like adults with similar terms of confinement as the adults. Some juveniles are even handed death sentence or even life imprisonment without parole.
The criminal justice system should consider rehabilitation of juvenile delinquents instead of being retributive in nature. The office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency should come with a raft of measures aimed at rehabilitating the youths like setting up specialty courts, drug courts, gun courts, teen courts, mental health courts, vocational training programs. The system should also make an effort to decrease youth gang violence and set up juvenile hate crimes prevention and rehabilitation.
The juvenile justice system should be set up in such a way that some juvenile offenders are sent to specialty courts that help the juveniles address their behavioral problems as opposed to sending them to one court. The juveniles taken to drug courts should be subjected to drug treatment and random observed drug tests. The law enforcement agencies and attorneys should also consider donating their time to speak to juveniles arrested on accounts on non-violent use of guns. Individuals within the society who have suffered from gun related incidences and have even lost their loved ones due to homicide should talk to the teenagers to stop the use of guns for crime (The Attorney Store, 2013).
Teenagers who have violated law should at times be taken to courts where the juries are their peers. Juveniles who should be taken to such teen courts should be those who have engaged in non-violent crimes, status offenses, vandalism or shoplifting. Teenagers with serious mental illnesses taken to mental health courts should be monitored for at least 18 months. The office of juvenile justice delinquency program should also come up with vocational training programs for juvenile offenders. They should liaise with community business groups to create programs that help at-risk groups develop job skills before they get involved in community crime or status offenses. One such program that can be initiated is The Home Builders Institute to provide the youths with social and job search skills along with apprenticeship certificate training…[continue]
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