U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Be All You Can Be: Reflection on Leadership Development & Staff Training

NCJ Number
Journal for Juvenile Justice and Detention Services Volume: 18 Issue: 1 Dated: Spring 2003 Pages: 61-70
Paul DeMuro
Date Published
10 pages
After identifying and discussing major trends and issues in juvenile justice, this paper suggests how juvenile justice staff can become better prepared to be effective leaders and workers in the current climate of juvenile justice.
The author first considers the debate/dichotomy regarding punishment versus treatment and the associated "adultification" (processing juveniles as though they were adults) of juvenile justice. This is followed by a discussion of class and race issues, particularly the overrepresentation of minority and poor youth in the juvenile justice system. The third issue addressed is noted to be a group of issues that continue to impact the juvenile justice field, namely, the lack of adequate resources, the lack of consistent professional leadership nationally and statewide, and the general reactive nature of the juvenile justice field. The final category of issues considered pertains to the juvenile justice work force/personnel. Part II of this paper identifies and discusses the values that should be considered in committing to leadership and training in juvenile justice. One category of values pertains to perceptions of youth and race. Society has tended to demonize many youth, particularly youth of color. It is imperative that juvenile justice personnel be committed individually and collectively to a sense of fairness and social justice for all youth, who should be viewed as individuals whose futures are capable of being shaped by interventions that surround them with healthy adults, peers, and environments. Another category of values gives high priority to evaluation and the tailoring of program planning and staff training to what has been proven effective. Other values emphasized in the development of juvenile justice personnel are teamwork and a personal commitment to develop one's self and the institutions of juvenile justice to best serve the youth whose lives may depend on how they are treated by those in charge of them.