Crime Causation and Diversion
May 5, 2014, 2014
Crime Causation and Diversion
Determining the reasons juveniles commit crimes is a perplexing undertaking. Researchers have concluded “that no single cause accounts for all delinquency and that no single pathway leads to a life of crime,” however; there are risk factors (OJJDP, 2010). Risk factors include child abuse, lack of parental supervision or discipline, peer influences, and other environmental factors (OJJDP, 2010). Numerous prevention programs have been implemented by juvenile justice officials to educate children on the downfalls of criminal or delinquent behavior. Just as ...view middle of the document...
The main goal is to identify the treatment and services needed and provide them to the juvenile so he can return home. An assessment team works with offenders, their families, and parole officers, to determine the best options for success. A few of the services they provide include working with the juveniles and schools to help facilitate a return to the classroom, working with employers to secure a source of income, and working with offenders to address any mental health issues from which, they may suffer. This process is part of the gradual reintegration into the community. This process is lengthy and the juveniles are closely supervised throughout the transition (OJJDP, 2010).
The D.A.R.E. program (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) is used to help juveniles develop skills to avoid violence and substance abuse; thus preventing or reducing criminal behavior. The premise of this program is that educating a child will prepare him to make positive decisions concerning delinquent behavior. The main goal of this program is to teach children about the consequences of their decisions; bad decisions concerning drugs, alcohol, and violence will lead to more violence, crime, and eventual arrest and incarceration. In Virginia, D.A.R.E program is administered through a joint effort of the Department of Education, the Virginia State Police, and other local police departments (Virginia State Police, 2014). Police officers go to community events, churches, and into schools, to talk with children from kindergarten to high school to deliver this message. They bring age appropriate visual aids to illustrate their six major lessons: alcohol and tobacco awareness, good decision making skills, resisting peer pressure, alternatives to drug use, dealing with stress, and communication skills (Virginia State Police, 2014). This program does not provide specific services to juveniles other than educational knowledge of the various dangers and temptations to which a child may be exposed. The program does, however; help build a relationship of trust between law enforcement and juveniles. That bond alone may sway a child against criminal or delinquent behavior. The program also provides children with additional resources for information and assistance.
Effectiveness of the Programs
Although it is difficult to identify which program is more effective at reducing juvenile crime, both programs have helped many children. The D.A.R.E. program reaches more children because the program much larger as it is included in...