Lecture Notes: Police and Juveniles
THE HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF JUVENILE JUSTICE
Prevention is distinguished from control, or repression, in that prevention seeks to reduce the risk factors for delinquency before antisocial behavior or delinquency becomes a problem. Delinquency control programs, which involve the juvenile justice system, intervene in the lives of juvenile offenders with the aim of preventing the occurrence of future delinquent acts.
There are a number of different ways to classify or organize delinquency prevention programs, including the public health approach and the developmental perspective. Key features of the developmental perspective of delinquency prevention include: targeting of risk factors and the promotion of protective factors; provision of services to children and families; and programs provided over the life course.
Some of the most effective delinquency prevention programs for children and teens include: home visits for new mothers; parent training; enriched preschool programs; school-based programs that are intensive, cognitive-oriented, and targeted on high-risk kids; mentoring; and job training. Many of these programs also show positive results in reducing other problem behaviors, such as substance abuse, and lead to improvements in other areas of life, such as educational achievement, health, and employment. These benefits often translate into substantial cost savings for the government and taxpayers.
The juvenile justice process consists of a series of steps: police investigation; intake procedure in the juvenile court; pretrial procedures used for juvenile offenders; and adjudication, disposition, and post-dispositional procedures.
There are conflicting values in contemporary juvenile justice. Some experts want to get tough with young criminals, while others want to focus on treatment. Crime-control advocates want to reduce the court’s jurisdiction over juveniles charged with serious crimes, and liberalize the prosecutor’s ability to try them in adult courts. Child advocates suggest that the court should scale back its judicial role, and transfer its functions to community groups and social service agencies.
A comprehensive juvenile justice strategy has been developed to preserve the need for treatment services for juveniles, while at the same time using appropriate sanctions to hold juveniles accountable for their actions. Elements of this strategy include delinquency prevention, intervention programs, graduated sanctions, improvement of institutional programs, and treating juveniles like adults. New courts, such as drug courts and teen courts, are used extensively across the nation.
The future of delinquency prevention and the juvenile justice system continues to be debated. A number of state jurisdictions are revising their juvenile codes to restrict eligibility in the juvenile justice system, and to remove the most serious offenders. At the same time, there are some promising signs, such as juvenile crime rates being lower than in decades past, public support for prevention and intervention programs, and some states beginning to incorporate research-based initiatives to guide delinquency prevention and juvenile justice programming and policy.
I. Delinquency Prevention
A. Classifying delinquency prevention
1. Preventing juvenile delinquency means different things to different people
C. Correctional measures are often referred to as delinquency control or repression. D. Most often, delinquency prevention refers to intervening in young people’s lives before they engage in delinquency in the first place.
E. A number of ways exist to classify delinquency prevention
1. Public Health Approach
2. Developmental Perspective
II. Early Prevention of Delinquency
A. Home-Based Programs
1. Support for Families in Homes can take on many different forms
2. Home Visitation
3. Nurse-Family Partnership
B. Improving Parenting Skills
1. Another form of family support that has shown some success in preventing juvenile delinquency is improving parenting skills.
2. Oregon Social Learning Center is an example of this type of program.
1. Typically provided to children ages 3 to 5, preschool programs are geared toward preparing children for grade school.
2. Key features of preschool programs include:
Developmentally appropriate curriculum
Array of cognitive based activities
3. Well known preschool programs include:
a) Perry Preschool
b) Child-Parent Center
III. Prevention of Delinquency in the Teenage Years
1. Typically involve nonprofessional volunteers spending time with at risk youth
2. Federal Mentoring Programs include one designed by OJDDP
3. Mentoring programs have been found to be effective for the most part
B. School Programs
1. Schools might not be able to eliminate delinquency singlehandedly, but a number of viable alternatives to their operations could aid a community-wide effort to reduce the problem of juvenile crime.
2. Programs based on innovation have been found to work.
3. Programs based on increased social competence have not.
C. Job Training
1. Effectiveness of having after school job training has been found to be problematic.
2. Some research indicates it might be associated with delinquency and substance abuse.
3. Well known programs include:
b) Youth Build USA
IV. Juvenile Justice Today
A. Two distinct categories of offenders:
1. Delinquents: commit an act in violation of the penal code
2. Status Offenders: characterized in state statutes as persons or children in need of supervision (PINS or CHINS)
3. All states have juvenile justice statutes, juvenile code, and a special court structure to accommodate children in trouble.
4. Most of the police agencies now have juvenile components.
5. More than three thousand juvenile courts and correctional facilities in the country.
B. The Juvenile Justice Process
1. About two-thirds of all children arrested are referred to juvenile court.
2. Under the parens patriae philosophy, procedures are informal and nonadversarial.
3. The process includes the following:
a) Police Investigation: police have the authority to investigate and decide to release or commit to juvenile court.
b) Detention: police decide to file a petition and youth is referred to juvenile court, a detention hearing is held to determine whether to remand or not.
c) Pretrial Procedures: a hearing where juveniles are informed of their right to a trial, plea, charges and consequences
d) Adjudication: the trial stage of the juvenile court
e) Disposition: the court must decide what should be done to treat the child if found guilty; wide range of dispositions from reprimand to probation to institutional commitment
f) Bifurcated process: the dispositional hearing separate for the adjudication or trial
g) Treatment: probation is the most commonly used formal sentence.
4. More than one hundred thousand youths are in some form of correctional institution currently.
C. Criminal Justice versus Juvenile Justice
1. Some components of the adult and juvenile criminal processes are similar and other components are different.
2. Similarities: discretion, Miranda warnings, procedural safeguards, proof beyond a reasonable doubt, etc.
3. Differences: the purpose is protection and treatment, not punishment; age determines jurisdiction; not considered criminal; informal and private; no constitutional right to a jury, etc.
V. A Comprehensive Juvenile Justice Strategy
1. Risk factors include low intelligence and attainment, impulsiveness, poor parental supervision, parental conflict, and living in deprived neighborhoods.
2. Early childhood programs have been effective in tackling risk factors.
a. Head Start
b. Smart Start
c. The Nurse-Family Partnership model
1. Designed to ward off teenage youths considered at higher risk for engaging in petty delinquency, using drugs, alcohol, associating with antisocial peers
2. Big Brothers/Big Sisters
3. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Mentoring Initiative for System Involved Youth (MISIY)
4. Job Corps and Youth Build U.S.A
C. Graduated Sanctions
1. Immediate sanctions for nonviolent offenders, community–based diversion and day treatment
2. Intermediate sanctions, such as probation and electronic monitoring, target repeat offenders
3. Secured institutional care, reserved for repeat serious offenders
D. Institutional Programs
1. Many believe incarceration is overused, particularly for nonviolent offenders
2. Concept of deinstitutionalization established by the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Act of 1974
E. Alternative Courts
1. Drug courts: about 451 courts around the country, with 48 more courts being planned
2. Teen courts: an alternative to traditional forms of juvenile court with 1,048 courts in operation in 49 states
3. These courts are serving an estimated 110,000 to 125,000 young offenders each year.
F. Teen courts encourage the community to take an active role:
1. Accountability: help to ensure young offender are held accountable for their illegal behavior
2. Timeliness: can move cases within days, rather than months
3. Cost savings: depend on youth and adult volunteers at little cost to the community
4. Community cohesion: may affect entire community by increasing public appreciation of the legal system
VI. The Future of Delinquency Prevention and Juvenile Justice
A. A subject of contentious debate with pros and cons; some want measures to get tough and be more punitive and others want more rehabilitation and treatment
B. Despite limitations, treatment programs provided in the modern juvenile court play a central role in response to the most serious delinquents.
POLICEWORK WITH JUVENILES
Modern policing developed in England at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The Industrial Revolution, recognition of the need to treat children as a distinguishable group, and growing numbers of unemployed and homeless youths were among the key events that helped shape juvenile policing in America.
The role of juvenile officers is similar to that of officers working with adult offenders: to intervene if the actions of a citizen produce public danger or disorder. Juvenile officers must also have a thorough knowledge of the law, especially the constitutional protections available to juveniles. Juvenile officers operate either as specialists in a police department, or as part of the juvenile unit of a police department. The organization of juvenile work depends on the size of the police department, the kind of community in which the department is located, and the amount and quality of resources available in the community.
Most courts have held that the Fourth Amendment ban against unreasonable search and seizure applies to juveniles and that illegally seized evidence is inadmissible in a juvenile trial. Most courts have concluded that parents or attorneys need not be present for children to effectively waive their right to remain silent.
Discretion is a low-visibility decision made in the administration of adult and juvenile justice. Discretionary decisions are made without guidelines from the police administrator. Numerous factors influence the decisions police make about juvenile offenders, including the seriousness of the offense, the harm inflicted on the victim, and the likelihood that the juvenile will break the law again. Problems with discretion include discrimination, unfairness, and bias toward particular groups of juveniles.
The major policing strategies to prevent delinquency include: aggressive law enforcement; police in schools; community policing; and problem-oriented policing. Innovation in policing strategies can address the ever-changing nature of juvenile delinquency. Tailoring policing activities to local conditions, and engaging the community and other stakeholders, shows promise in reducing delinquency. Saturation patrols that include targeting gang areas and arresting members for any law violations have not proven to be effective against gangs. Maintaining the level of intensity and cooperation of the many agencies involved in problem-oriented policing strategies, which are essential to their success, is not easy and requires sustainable funding.
History of Juvenile Policing
A. Providing specialized police services for juveniles is a relatively recent phenomenon.
B. In the American colonies, local sheriff became the most important police official.
C. By the mid-1800s, city police departments had formed in Boston, New York and Philadelphia.
D. Juvenile aid bureaus organized by the police started in the 1930s in Berkeley, California, by August Vollmer.
E. Most urban law enforcement agencies now have specialized juvenile police programs.
Police and Juvenile Offenders
A. Recently, a new view of policing has emerged among the police.
1. The concept that the police role should be to maintain order and be visible and accessible to the community
2. Referred to as community policing
3. Strategy that emphasizes fear reduction, community organization, and order maintenance rather crime fighting
4. Working with juvenile offenders may be especially challenging, difficult and emotional for police officers.
5. The desire to help may seem in conflict with the traditional police duties of crime prevention and law enforcement.
B. Police Roles
1. Juvenile officers operate either as specialists in a police department or as part of the juvenile unit of a police department.
2. Most juvenile officers are appointed after some patrol experience.
3. Aptitude and desire to work with juveniles are essential for the job.
4. Conflict may occur between their desire to perform primary duty of enforcing the law, and the need to aid in the rehabilitation of youthful offenders.
5. Officers must consider what is in the “best interests of the child” and how their actions will influence the future well-being of the child.
C. Violent juvenile offenders are defined as those adjudicated for crimes of homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and kidnapping.
1. Juveniles account for 11 percent of all violent crime arrests.
Police and the Rule of Law
A. Police involvement with juvenile offenders is controlled by statute, constitutional case law, and justice reviews.
B. Police methods of investigation and control will include arrest procedures, search and seizure, and custodial interrogation
C. The Arrest Procedure
1. Most states require that the law of arrest be the same for both adults and juveniles; officer must have probable cause.
2. Probable cause is reasonable ground to believe that an offense was committed and that the accused committed that offense.
3. Police have broader latitude to arrest juveniles; statues give the police the authority to act in loco parentis (Latin for “in place of the parent”).
D. Search and Seizure
1. Courts have held that the Fourth Amendment ban against unreasonable search and seizure applies to juveniles and any illegally seized evidence is inadmissible.
E. Custodial Interrogation
1. In Miranda v. Arizona, (1966) case, the Supreme Court placed constitutional limitations on police interrogation procedures.
2. Juveniles have the same rights as adults against self-incrimination.
A. Juvenile offenders receive nearly as much procedural discretion as adult offenders.
B. Police have a broader authority in dealing with juveniles.
C. Police discretion is selective enforcement of the law by authorized police agents.
D. Police officers have a choice among numerous possible courses of action (within limits of their power and authority).
E. A study suggests that 64% of police contacts with juveniles is handled informally.
F. Another study suggests that 13% of police encounters with juveniles result in arrest.
G. Environmental Factors: the norms of the community affect the decision of the officer; liberal environments versus conservative communities.
H. Police Policy: customs of the local police also influence decision- directives instruct officers to be alert to certain types of juvenile violations.
I. Situational Factors: factors attached to a particular crime, such as specific traits of offenders, might include demeanor and appearance, dress, attitude, speech, and level of hostility toward police.
J. Bias and Police Discretion
1. Racial Bias
2. Gender Bias
3. Organizational Bias
V. Police Work and Delinquency Prevention
A. Police have taken a lead in delinquency prevention
1. Some using deterrent powers and positive relationships with schools, the community and other juvenile justice agencies
B. Aggressive Law Enforcement
1. Patrolling targeted areas; high visibility; arrests for minor and serious infractions
C. Police in Schools
1. Collaborate with school staff to create a safer school environment and develop programs to meet that goal
D. Community Policing
1. Engages citizens and community-based organizations in order to gain the trust and assistance of concerned citizens
2. The Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statics survey reports that 7 out of 10 local police departments include a community policy component.
E. Problem-Oriented Policing
1. Involves analysis and response to the problems underling criminal incidents; engages community and other juvenile justice agencies
2. S.A.R.A.: a four stem model stands for Scanning, Analysis, Response and Assessment
3. Most successful application: Boston’s Operation Ceasefire
4. Partnership to Reduce Juvenile Gun Violence Program, sponsored by the OJJDP: a comprehensive initiative to reduce juvenile gun violence in four cities
Future of Juvenile Policing
A. Many challenges confront police response to juvenile offending; among these are:
1. Witness intimidation
2. Charges of racial profiling
3. Poor relations with the communities
4. Distrust of police
B. Soft and hard technologies in police work will also become more important in the years to come.
1. Soft technologies: involves information technology to enhance police operational and administrative decision-making
2. Hard technologies: involves nonlethal weapons, such as Taser or stun gun, and other alternative weapons systems
3. Closed-circuit television (CCTV)
C. New approaches show promising results in reducing serious offenses, such as gang activity and gun crimes, including:
1. Community-based policing services
2. Police in schools
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