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Juvenile facilities are those correctional centers designed to hold offenders aged below 18 years old. The purpose of these facilities is not to punish these offenders but offer rehabilitation services to help them reform and be better members of the society. The positive impact of juvenile courts and rehabilitation centers is that they have helped to reduce the level of crimes among teenagers and as a result there has been general decline in juvenile arrests in the past few years. This essay paper is doing to address the following issues in relation to juvenile arrests, the overall decrease in juvenile arrests, the increase in drug offenses and simple assaults, implications for juvenile females and minorities and finally an assessment of the tracking of juvenile arrests as a method of measuring the amount of and trends in juvenile crime.
According to Synder, there has tremendous decline in general juvenile arrests from the early 1980's to the beginning of the 21st century; from the statistics given 1984 was the year that recorded the highest number of arrests whereas 2001 recorded one of the lowest number in arrests in the history of America. This was a 44% decline and the seventh consecutive decline (yearly) as compared to 1984 (Synder, 2003). In any multi racial society, the issues of inter racial crimes and arrests cannot be overlooked; the statistics show that 53% of the juvenile arrests were whites while the rest were blacks. The question therefore that most people ask is, what are the main reasons as to why most juveniles get arrested? Are they arrested because of drug possession, robbery, assaults or loitering?
Statistics indicate that in 1993 more that 3,800 juveniles were arrested because of murder but this dropped to a mere 1,400 in 2001 and this represented 10% of the crimes committed by juveniles. Other causes of the arrests were assaults (14%), burglary (31%), robbery (24%) and arrests related with possession of firearms were 23%. It is however important to note that if the above juvenile arrest statistics are compared to those of 1984 then one can notice that there has been a general decline of more than 50% in the arrests. In any society, it is the joy of the authorities if the crime rate of a region declines, this means that most people are abiding by the laid down rules and regulations; however in the case of US there is a cause for alarm despite the fact that juvenile arrests have declined by more than 50%.
According to Synder, while the male juvenile arrests were on the decline between 1984 and 2001 that of the female was on the rise (Synder, 2003). It is reported that more than 645, 000 female aged between 18 years were arrested during the same period. Another interesting feature is that while male juvenile arrests related to assault decreased by 9% during the same period, those of female increased by 33%. This means that more female than male engaged in assault related crimes. Most nations especially in South America have enacted laws and strategies to combat the increase in drug trafficking case and there has been tremendous improvement in this sector, in 2001 there was a drop of 16% for those juveniles arrested from drug abuse and drug peddling cases. This was a drop from 77% arrests made between 1993 and 1997.
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As indicated in the paper a juvenile is any person aged below 18 years and most of those who committed crimes are aged between 12 and 18 years. There are however some minors (below 5 years) who were also sentenced to rehabilitation for engaging in unwanted activities; of the total crimes committed 39% juveniles arrested between 1984 and 2001 were of juveniles aged below 5 years. For those minor who have committed crimes, there is an alternative form of punishment that they can be given apart from being sentenced to rehabilitation this is because at their tender age they still have special attachment to their parents and keeping them away will not easily solve the problem.
According to scounty, the Home on Probation or Wardship Disposition is the best type of rehabilitation for these minors. This type of disposition is given to those juveniles who have not committed serious offences or petty offenders. This means that the juvenile is allowed to go home, attend school and other chaos but at the same time they are required to attend to counseling programs until the end of their sentence (scounty 2010).
By keeping track of the juvenile arrests and the crimes committed, the government has been able to understand the socio-economic factors that made these juveniles commit crimes that led to their arrest. The importance of this is that, the government has been able to come up with suitable policies to address this negative factors and hence the continued decline in crime.
In conclusion, with the rapid growth and development of the information and communication technologies sectors especially the internet most youths are most likely to be exposed to contents that might make them engage in criminal and other heinous activities, it is therefore the responsibility of the parents, guardians and the government to filter and regulate the internet content that most children have access to.
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