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Combating Juvenile Delinquency

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Combating Juvenile Delinquency
Inez Randall-Scott
Professor Ryan Gallagher
Juvenile Delinquency and Justice
November 18, 2015

Combating Juvenile Delinquency
Over the last several years, Texas juvenile incarceration and crime rates have substantially declined. In 2006, there were 4,800 juveniles at Texas Youth Commission facilities, (Marc Levin, 2010) nearly all of whom were housed in large institutions until an abuse scandal surfaced and redirected more youths into community-based juvenile probation programs. As of recently, and since redirecting to these programs, juvenile incarceration and crimes declined to 2,259 in 2014. (Marc Levin, 2010). Many people think of the juvenile justice system as a penal system similar to that of adults, but for children. While there are similarities between the two, there are also differences. The adult system focuses on public safety and punishment for criminal conduct. The juvenile correctional system places an emphasis on rehabilitation. Even when it is necessary to incarcerate youths, the setting is not punitive but rather is protective and designed to educate youths about discipline, values, and work ethics therefore guiding them towards becoming productive citizens. In the state of Texas, The Dallas County Juvenile Department believes that for certain youth’s, treatment rather than punishment alone is the most effective strategy in avoiding future involvement with the juvenile justice system.

The decline in juvenile incarceration is great but, here is what we are doing wrong, most juvenile justice, child welfare, and school resources currently focus on adolescent juvenile offenders and problem children whose behaviors are already persistent or on education and behavior management programs for youth in middle and high schools rather than on children in elementary schools or preschools. Of course, there are diversion...

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