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Juvenile Corrections: Why Would Anyone Want To Work in This Business?

NCJ Number
Corrections Today Volume: 66 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2004 Pages: 8-9
Francisco J. Alarcon
Date Published
February 2004
2 pages
After citing some of the reasons why a person would choose not to work in the field of juvenile justice/corrections today, the author, who is the deputy secretary of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, explains why he and others in the juvenile corrections field find their work to be satisfying and fulfilling.
Individuals who work in juvenile corrections generally receive relatively low pay compared with similar professions; are used as scapegoats for all that is wrong with the youth of today; are expected to do more with fewer resources; and must handle the complaints of parents, victims, and professionals from other criminal and juvenile justice agencies when case outcomes do not meet their expectations. Although these aforementioned reasons are sufficient to deter many individuals from choosing juvenile corrections as a career, there are many more reasons why some people are drawn to and remain in this field. They believe they are involved in a meaningful mission to help change people' lives in positive ways. The commitment to restorative-justice principles and practices brings healing and accountability for the benefit of juvenile offenders, their victims, and the community. Working in the field of juvenile justice/corrections also brings a person into contact and partnership with committed, conscientious, caring, and courageous people. Further, the variety of work and the challenges presented are constantly stimulating, such that work never becomes boring or routine. Finally, it is an exciting time to be involved in juvenile corrections, because so much more is known today about "what works." There is a new confidence that with proper training and committed staff to implement proven strategies based in appropriate treatment-offender matching, significant positive changes can occur in the lives of youth.