Terry Campbell, A professor at the Kaplan University School of Public Safety, just posted an article on Corrections.com about the big issues facing juvenile justice in 2013. In it, he denotes the five areas of emphasis for the coming year: fiscal considerations; juvenile sentencing; mental health and juveniles; juveniles and adult courts; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) youth.
These are all topics we have tried to shine a light on with this blog, so it’s gratifying to see them acknowledged on a website that has evolved into “the single most recognizable brand online for the global community of corrections.” Hopefully it will create more awareness of these issues with the professional corrections community.
At one point, Campbell notes the intersection of rehabilitation and funding:
I shared with you some juvenile critical areas facing us in 2013. These selections are my opinions and views for each area. 2013 will continue to be an interesting year related to juvenile offenders. Agencies must be creative in still meeting offender needs while competing for dollars. According to fiscal managers, we still face a tough budget year ahead of us. The old adage; “Make do with less and continue services,” is present. From this administrators and staff are becoming stressed and pressured to provide services while maintaining safety and security. The last thing we need is a reduction in staff, yet some states are experiencing this.
We want to continue and focus on rehabilitation and recidivism. Yet, at the same time we must note: “Until offenders are willing to accept the responsibilities and consequences for their own actions, change is not going to occur.” (Campbell).
The programs, mentoring, reinforcement, and support must continue to be provided in an attempt for some of these juveniles to change. This is one of the last opportunities for youth to make a change before entering the big house. Are we going to save all? No. Can we save some and make a difference in some young lives? Yes. The dedication, professionalism of staff, and desire to assist these offenders are crucial. When we look at where some of these offenders came from and obstacles faced, it is truly amazing some are able to change. We cannot overlook that trust and respect are major components and not easily obtained. Many of our youth are able to make the necessary adjustments to turn their lives around while others continue to struggle and get caught in the revolving door. 2013 will be an interesting year.
There is no program or group of programs that can act as a panacea. That doesn’t mean the programs are worthless. Nothing in real life is one hundred percent. By the same token, proper rehabilitative approaches, combined with family or community support, can improve the lot of many– probably a majority– of cases.
Personally, I am very excited to see these topics brought forth on a website that ranks number one on Alexa and is in the top three Google results for “corrections”. With 2.5 million page views per month, they can do a far better job of getting these ideas across to decision makers and those who work in corrections-related jobs.
Let us hope that these areas see greater attention in the coming year, rather than being sidelined by short term fiscal maneuvering.
- Juvenile-In-Justice Exhibit Highlights U.S.’s Harsh Juvenile Detention System (karinaschroeder.com)
- Women’s Health in Juvenile Detention: How a System Designed for Boys Is Failing Girls (theatlantic.com)