Challenges of the Juvenile Justice System


The increase in juvenile crime has resulted in relevant argumentconcerning the practicality and effectiveness of the country’sjuvenile justice structure. The number of children under eighteen inAmerica surpasses that of the entire populace. The figure isanticipated to increase by 2020. The figures imply the extent andrange of issues affecting juveniles will also enhance, specificallythose at peril of engaging in delinquent behavior. With enhancingfigures of young person’s joining the juvenile justice systemmonthly, challenges are inevitable, which range from those linked toplacement alternatives, mental wellbeing services, educationalprogramming, recidivism and treating addiction.

The enhancing numbers of delinquents stretches resources linked toappropriate placement of wrongdoers. In line with the rules governingthe system, when any individual below eighteen years becomes awrongdoer because of arbitration, the court is supposed to put theminor in the least restricting surrounding probable. Though theprecise wrongdoing acts as the guide for the punishment, the systemlacks ample resources for availing suitable service to juvenilewrongdoers. The result is that in most instances, offenders get thesimilar form of punishment, which is detention. This detention placesare congested and lack enough personnel. In addition, is lackingenough beds or support and therapy resources to tackle wrongdoer’sneeds effectively. The fundamental objective of the juvenile systeminvolves reforming through provision of wrongdoers with suitableservices to correct their conduct. However, detention only worsensand toughens the juveniles, enhancing their possibility of breakinglaws again in prospect.

Many juvenile lawbreakers have diverse kinds of mental wellbeingconditions, challenges and disorders. Yet the system lacks suitablemental health centers to ensure that such issues are resolved.Detaining offenders and failing to provide the required mentalwellbeing services only deters the delinquent from engaging inwrongdoing for the period they are detained, which highlights theineffectiveness of the juvenile system. Most first time delinquentsbreak law to get drugs, or are caught using illegal substances. Yetthe system lacks ample resources to treat addiction, which ought tobe part of the community-founded plans for delinquents in detention.When they do not get treated for their addiction, they are likely toengage in similar offences after leaving detention, as the main causeof wrongdoing is not solved. Another inadequacy of the system is theincapability of providing educational services for delinquents. Manyoffenders are normally persons that have dropped-out of school.Ensuring that such offenders are rehabilitated and resume back tolearning minimizes the probability that they will engage in offences.However, the system is incapable of meeting such demand due toproblems like lack of personnel, resources and facilities.

Possibly, the main noteworthy of all challenges linked with thesystem is high levels of recidivism. Almost all states progress tonote a high percentage of children below eighteen becoming repeatoffenders, especially after probation or detention. Four basicreasons for increasing recidivism involves an absence of suitableplacement alternatives, lack of ample mental wellbeing services,insufficient programs for dealing with drug addictions, and minimaleducational chances. The eventuality is that the inadequacies andchallenges facing the system form a constant sequence where minors,frequent detention and probation centers.

Apart from problems within the system causing its failure, there areexternal factors enhancing the challenges. The enhancing figure ofchild abuse, as well as neglect cases is one such factor. Researchdemonstrates that abuse or neglect as a child results in a 59%increase in the possibility of juvenile arrest (Smith, Ireland &ampThornberry, 2005). The probability of such persons engaging in brutaloffences is 30%. Further research on child abuse, as well asmistreatment directs to various adverse results for victims duringtheir growth. Young person’s that were victims of sexual abuse, forinstance have a three to five more likelihood of engaging indelinquent conducts (Smith, Ireland &amp Thornberry, 2005). Abuseand neglect cause emotional disturbance in children as they develop,causing them to resort in conduct they suppose will ease the negativepast they have encountered. In most instances, the conducts areillegal, like substance abuse, violence when aggravated and crimeslike stealing. Such children are also probable to have reducedself-worth, which enhances poor mental wellbeing. Mental instabilitymeans that the juveniles are incapable of making rationale decisions,which deter them from involvement in unlawful activity. Thus, thejuvenile justice structure faces more cases of wrongdoing from thisgroup.

In prospect, the juvenile system may become completely ineffective.It could be reduced to the role of detaining and placing offenders onprobation. The problem is worsened by the reality that young person’sare the largest population, which means that the system will have tostretch its already meager resources and deal with the increasingdelinquent conduct. The system progresses to apply approaches, whichhave been used for many centuries. Some of the approaches to dealingwith delinquent conduct are currently ineffective considering thechanges in generations, which resonates to changes in behavior. Theadministration must make amends to the system by adopting newstrategies for handling delinquency, and allot more resources to thesystem.


Smith, C. A., Ireland, T. O &amp Thornberry, T. P. (2005).Adolescent Maltreatment and Its Impact on Young Adult AntisocialBehavior. Child Abuse &amp Neglect, 29(10), 1099-1119.