The contemporary times has witnessed a growing concern for the increasing crowd in the juvenile correctional facilities (Bernard & Kurlychek, 2010). With each passing day there are high rates of recidivism, increasing expenses for confinement and this has generated adequate interest in the efforts to bring in changes and innovation in the aftercare programs of the juveniles and in the practice and philosophy of parole. Regrettably, it has been observed that the field of juvenile corrections has a miserable record for the reduction of the rates of offenders of juveniles who have been released from secure confinement.
Research on the juvenile justice aftercare programs have indicated that if failure occurs with subgroups of released juveniles it is seen that most of these offenders have a long record of misconduct that generally commences at a very early age (Benekos & Merlo, 2008). These youths who are at high risks exhibit a particular and constant style of justice system such as arrests, placements or adjudication and are also plagued by some other risk factors based on several needs (Halbrook, 2013). Usually these factors are combined with various problems such as ones relating to family, peer pressure, difficulties in school and substance abuse. Additionally, these need related problems are also accompanied by other ancillary requirements and problems.
In order to counter these issues in juvenile justice system, a number of Community-Based Aftercare Programs has been organized in the past few decades in different states of the United States. These aftercare programs mainly focus on the serious juvenile offenders and take steps to intensive supervision to ensure safety of the public and aid in the proper reintegration process which allows these offenders to be released before their term as a result reduce recidivism in those juveniles who are released from residential facilities (Hill, Lockyer & Stone, 2007). In this study the researcher examines two aftercare programs prevalent in the United States and makes a comparative analysis between them.
Juvenile Justice Aftercare program introduced by the United States Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs had introduced intensive aftercare programs for the high risk juveniles. This model involves the assessment and relevant research on the implementation and operation of aftercare programs based on the juveniles released from correctional facilities (Dum & Fader, 2013). Further it involves the development of appropriate program models and such policies which would be helpful for the states, correctional agencies and policy makers. The project design also includes the making of prototypes and such policies and procedures so that a proper training and technical assistance can be created. Later these prototypes are tested and implemented in different jurisdictions.
In order to deal with the different types of risk factors related to these juveniles the juvenile aftercare program model is formed to deal with the problems (Evans-Chase & Zhou, 2012). The schematic model has been shown below. This theory driven empirical model focuses on these risk factors and models and also creates clear and comprehensive guidelines which have specific and tangible programs and are based on the required services.
The primary goals of this aftercare program is to reduce recidivism of the juvenile parolee population, structure the juvenile justice delivery system and research on the size, nature and availability in different states of United States.
This Intensive Aftercare Program is based on the following principles required for reintegration. Firstly, it prepares the youth for gaining responsibility and freedom in the community (Frederick & Roy, 2003). Secondly, it facilitates communication and involvement of the youth; thirdly, it focuses on working with offenders and community support systems which are essential for interaction and successful return of the juveniles to the society (Montague, 2003). Fourthly the program tends to develop new resources and support whenever required and finally is also monitors the ability of the youth to work productively with the community. States such as California has adopted this aftercare program to implement it in their state.
The next program to deal with is an initiative of the Juvenile Law Center which based its aftercare model on the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Model to change the aftercare reform situation in the states . This model was implemented in the state of Pennsylvania and a Joint Policy Statement on Aftercare was developed to deal with the juvenile system. Some of the key state agencies adopted this Model in 2005 and since then this Joint Policy Statement has become an organizing tool for efforts of reform, aspiration that is also converted into policies and procedures. The Policy defines aftercare as a commencement of disposition (Wells, 2006). It implies that the program identifies the connections to aftercare services and support programs for the youth in placement.
The primary aim of the Model is to improve the aftercare services for the juveniles and also supervise these juveniles so that juveniles get a chance to succeed after releasing from the correctional homes. The program contributes to the workgroups all over the state to address aftercare and work with stakeholders from the courts, education system and probation. These reform efforts are coordinated at the country and state levels so that these efforts have a much wider and national perspective. The Model tends to ensure that the juvenile youths develop skills to become productive members of the communities when they return to their societies.
A constructive comparison of the two models of Juvenile aftercare depict that the primary aims and objectives of these programs is to ensure that the juveniles are successfully returned to their societies. However the approach of the two models are different and hence the result and success of these Models would differ. It has been observed that the Intensive Aftercare Program established by the United States Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs tend to have more emphasis and a better success rate due to the main fact that the Model is more focused on the involvement of the youth and the relationship between them and the community support system. Whereas the later model used in Pennsylvania needs to be more constructive and focused. The juvenile aftercare models of the state must ensure that the juveniles are dealt with maturity and the models should focus more on the communities also where the juvenile are sent after they are released.
Benekos, P., & Merlo, A. (2008). Juvenile Justice: The Legacy of Punitive Policy. Youth Violence And Juvenile Justice, 6(1), 28-46. doi:10.1177/1541204007308423
Bernard, T., & Kurlychek, M. (2010). The cycle of juvenile justice. New York: Oxford University Press.
Dum, C., & Fader, J. (2013). “These Are Kids’ Lives!”: Dilemmas and Adaptations of Juvenile Aftercare Workers. Justice Quarterly, 30(5), 784-810. doi:10.1080/07418825.2011.628946
Evans-Chase, M., & Zhou, H. (2012). A Systematic Review of the Juvenile Justice Intervention Literature: What It Can (and Cannot) Tell Us About What Works With Delinquent Youth. Crime & Delinquency, 60(3), 451-470. doi:10.1177/0011128712466931
Frederick, B., & Roy, D. (2003). Recidivism among youth released from the Youth Leadership Academy to the City Challenge Intensive Aftercare Program. Albany, NY: New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.
Halbrook, K. (2013). Nobody but us. New York: HarperTeen.
Hill, M., Lockyer, A., & Stone, F. (2007). Youth justice and child protection. London: J. Kingsley Publishers.
Montague, K. (2003). Aftercare strategy. [Baltimore, Md.]: Maryland Dept. of Juvenile Justice.
ncjrs,. Intensive Aftercare for High-Risk Juveniles. Retrieved 24 January 2015, from https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/juvcc.pdf
Wells, J. (2006). A Quasi-Experimental Evaluation of a Shock Incarceration and Aftercare Program for Juvenile Offenders. Youth Violence And Juvenile Justice, 4(3), 219-233. doi:10.1177/1541204006290153
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