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Keeping Promises to Preserve Promise: The Necessity of Committing to a Rehabilitation Model in the Juvenile Justice System

NCJ Number
Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy Volume: 20 Issue: 2 Dated: Winter 2013 Pages: 373-395
Wade Askew
Date Published
23 pages
This article addresses the need for developing and implementing a rehabilitation model in the juvenile justice system.
While the juvenile justice system was created with the idea that children who commit public offenses should be treated differently than adults who have committed the same offenses, this articles notes that the current juvenile justice system has failed in these efforts and that a new, rehabilitation model is needed to improve the system. The article presents background information on how the current system has failed in its original mandate to rehabilitate juvenile offenders and how it has moved from a system of rehabilitation towards one that is more punitive in nature and creating more dire consequences and outcomes for juvenile-involved youth. The article notes that the current construct of the juvenile justice system has had a greater negative effect on youth of color, specifically young African-American males. The article discusses how the misallocation of resources has deprived juvenile-involved youth access to reintegration and reentry services, and how a lack of coordination among juvenile justice system stakeholders has led to a rehabilitation process that is disjointed, flawed, and ultimately incomplete. As a result of the current situation, the need has arisen for development and implementation of a rehabilitation model for the juvenile justice system that will rehabilitate youth and lower recidivism rates. At the most basic level, this model includes the use of a series of measures taken at the moment youth become involved with the system. Additionally, the model should include a fundamental change in the way States treat youth during periods of detention; and the use of multi-systemic partnerships to provide continuity of care and community-based treatment programs aimed at reducing recidivism. It is hoped that implementation of this model will improve outcomes for youth involved with the juvenile justice system.