Management of Juvenile Detention Centers In United States

The introduction of the modern-day Juvenile Detention Centers (JDCs) represents one of the most integral additions to the criminal justice system within the United States. This introduction now meant that a clear and independent system was formulated to transform the behavior of youthful offenders, ultimately redeeming them from harsher punitive measures by criminal courts.  This marked the beginning of a novel criminal justice system with the primary objective of transforming the demeanor of individual offenders and making certain that their personal needs are met. The application of a juvenile-centered approach now meant that professionals were consulted to provide advice regarding the best possible intervention by identifying the cause of their social and psychological problems (Bortner & Williams, 2012).

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JDCs were established in direct response to crime-infested inner cities in the United States and the risk posed to vulnerable youth. Over the past decade, the juvenile correctional system has been transmuted from an instrument for the enforcement appropriate punishment to rehabilitation centers with the primary aim of correcting offender’s destructive patterns of behavior. This generic management system is applied within juvenile detention centers (JDCs) in the United States while adhering to specific principles outlined in the Federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974. An in-depth evaluation of the management framework employed within juvenile detention centers is, therefore, crucial when endeavoring to gain a better understanding of the legal and policy management reforms introduced by the aforementioned legislation.

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Major Aspects of Juvenile Corrections

Effective management is regarded as an invaluable element of JDCs regardless of their size or purpose.  Operations and administration within JDCs are typically linked to their success when endeavoring to meet the needs of residents within these facilities. JDCs function in an environment that has been known to transform rapidly, which is why facility operations are based upon a clear vision. Core beliefs and values guide staff members within the facilities as they strive to transform the behavior of troubled youth deserving a second chance (“Juvenile Detention Centers,” 2014). Facility operations are also conducted in a restricted environment where youthful offenders are held in safe custody and accorded helpful services to aid in their transformation. These operations are the first line of defense when seeking to change the behavior of at-risk offenders and ultimately shield them from being institutionalized in the future. JDCs also function as an adjutant family where troubled youth can be nurtured by caring staff to ensure they become appreciated members of society. Offenders are made aware of viable alternatives that exist and the importance of making informed choices to transform their behavior (Meyer, 2015). Administrators also make certain that non-intrusive methods are applied while referring to a framework that is culturally sensitive. They recognize the challenges faced by the youth but also develop a workable scheme using professionals within the system to support efforts grounded in evidence-based research (Taylor & Fritsch, 2014). It is through this approach that procedures and policies within the facility are ultimately transformed. One of the primary responsibilities of the administration in JDCs is addressing any challenge originating from the external environment. Issues such as overcrowding and inadequate resources are addressed from this management level by relying on an assortment of tools at their disposal. Administrators rely sound planning, non-secure alternatives and a clear admission criteria which then makes it possible for operations to be conducted within the facility.

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            Operations and management are also applied suitably within JDCs to fulfill their mandate of handing down appropriate punitive measures to youthful offenders. Deuteronomy 21: 18-21 is uncompromising about respect within any ordered society and measures that should be taken to deal with any infraction. Individuals who disregard advice given by their parents are to be chastised and brought before the elders of the city. JDCs are a modern-day equivalent of this intervention technique where all the methods applied signify the relationship between the facility and the criminal justice system. Although JDCs grapple with a myriad of challenges, facilities surmount them by building coalitions with communities and organizations to address shortcomings. Furthermore, effective management practices entail formulating comprehensive standards and procedures to bolster the quality of services offered.   Managers also routinely evaluate the facility’s set objectives to make sure it performs at optimum level which enables planning for the future (Lebrun, 2011).

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Programs applied within JDCs are also subject to regular monitoring to ensure that key actors are persons of integrity. This also provides room and opportunities for acquisition owing to a demonstration of superior management skills and proper allocation. Similarly, hiring competent staff maintains a set standard which ultimately assures actors within the criminal justice system of the quality of services provided within JDCs. Special skills are commonly identified during the hiring process to recruit individuals with appropriate expertise which will benefit the organization. Evaluating and planning also occupies a large portion of a manager’s daily routine. They do so with the intention of improving the facility and future functions. This entails an in-depth evaluation of the relationship that exists between the organization and its immediate environment. The relationship between parole agencies and placement is assessed to review the predictability of admission within the facility. An evaluation of internal processes is also fundamental in assessing the current population of offenders housed within the facility and whether the activities implemented support original goals.

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Rules and Regulations

The sentencing of youthful offenders often means that they are condemned to an assigned JDC where they serve time for crimes committed.  An individual’s stay at the detention center may also be the result of an awaited court date after committing a crime. The criminal justice system plays a fundamental role in enforcing punitive measures to address the behavior of delinquent youth. According to Proverbs 22:15, parents and guardians are required to act swiftly to punish a child when they stray from teachings.  This rule is applicable in the case of JDCs for they detain youth suspected or guilty of an offence.  JDCs are governed by a set of rules and regulations that govern the mode of operation within facilities.

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For instance, strict visitation hours and days are provided to limit detainee’s interaction with outsiders.  Some facilities follow a strict code that only permits parental visitations. Individuals allowed into the facilities are expected to provide a valid state driver’s license with valid photo identification. As a rule of thumb, all personal property is handed in, only to be returned after the visit. Phone calls are also arranged by the facilities to ensure that detainees can contact their guardian or lawyer to arrange bond. JDCs require detainees to place collect calls which are then accepted by the individual receiving the call. The facility also has the power to revoke this right if an inmate uses obscenities or makes calls to harass key witnesses (Roberson, 2016, p. 89). Inmates can also receive mail during their stay at the facility. Nevertheless, they are still subjected to a thorough screening process to check for contraband items such as drugs and money. JDCs generally prohibit pornographic material, books with fundamentalist ideologies and instructional material.  During admission, all personal possessions are seized by the detention center and stored in a secure location. Inmates are also expected to attend school during their stay at the facility during the regular school calendar.

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The construction of JDCs also follows a strict code. Typically, they should be located in a geographical location close to law enforcement agencies, courts and family members. They are also expected to follow local, state and federal laws when admitting inmates and visitors. This rule ensures that all buildings within the facility are capable of housing staff and inmates with physical disabilities. Facilities also contain an indoor activity area, dining space, exercise yard and sleeping quarters. Regulations governing detention facilities also require them to have a written policy describing its purpose and the services offered (National Research Council et al., 2013, p. 89). The presence of a manual ensures that written policies are concisely communicated to employees and inmates alike. Additionally, the chain of command is a key factor in the day-to-day functioning of facilities. It outlines the lines of authority which should be followed at any given time for the purpose of accountability.  Facility and court personnel are also assigned specific roles based on their qualifications and job descriptions.  JDCs also maintain a daily report to keep track of all every inmate interned in the facility. Demographic information is then recorded in addition to specific case managers assigned to specific inmates. Facilities also refer to a management protocol indicating the procedures that should be followed when inspecting equipment. This ensures that replacements and repairs can be made in a timely fashion without the need for continual supervision. Staff members are also required to follow the rules and regulations governing their conduct with detainees. Inappropriate contact is prohibited and reported to appropriate authorities as soon as it is reported. Staff members in question will be subjected to strict disciplinary action which may include imprisonment or dismissal. JDCs are also required to conduct a thorough background check on potential candidates seeking employment opportunities to verify their competencies and qualifications.

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Careers within Juvenile Detention Centers (JDCs)

JDCs require an admixture of individuals from different professions to make sure that operations run smoothly while being able to transcend over any emerging challenge. A myriad of career opportunities for leaders, educators and fitting staff members exist within the wider management framework implemented within JDCs. Individuals seeking to pursue a career within JDCs are required to work with the department of juvenile justice to gather the appropriate expertise. Numerous career options exist for any individual who may want partner with the juvenile justice department. As a rule of thumb, any individual seeking to pursue a career in this field should have a high school diploma as a basic requirement. Similarly, they may also hold a bachelor’s degree in social work. Fulfilling these requirements often increases the chances of being hired a permanent employee and advancing as a specialist.

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One of the most common career options is as a juvenile correctional officer. This position allows staff members to interact directly will all inmates during their stint within the facility. Additionally, a juvenile correctional officer’s duties may extend to drug treatments when dealing with inmates with substance abuse issues. It is here that their expertise as social workers comes in handy; allowing them to gain the youths trust, which eventually increases the chances of success. They also protect inmates and actively participate in ensuring that all relevant rules and procedures are enforced. Juvenile correctional officers also conduct regular checks within the facilities while ensuring that they report any instance of unbecoming behavior witnessed. This information is then relayed to juvenile correctional counselors who may then use it during their final assessment. Opportunities are also available, within the criminal justice system, for individuals to serve as juvenile correctional counselors. These are correctional treatment specialists who assess the behavior of juveniles who have already been sentenced to serve time. They develop an action plan for the best course of action during the process of rehabilitation within the facility.

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Juvenile correctional counselors work in tandem with probation and correctional officers to develop a series of programs aimed at improving the condition of individual convicts. They support inmates seeking to transform their behavior to avoid a path that leads to crime. Parole and probation officers are also an integral part of the juvenile justice department. They are involved directly juvenile youth who have made noticeable improvements while in the facility and can now return to society. Probation officers monitor former inmates to ensure they participate in rehabilitation programs and transform their lives for the better (Schwartz, 2014, p. 56).  Moreover, the mentor troubled youth in a bid to create a sense of structure in their lives, therefore, keeping them away from criminal activity. Parole officers commonly accompany juvenile offenders to therapy session to aid them when seeking to make important changes in their lives. Juvenile defense attorneys are an integral part of the criminal justice system. They work directly with juvenile offenders and represent them during legal proceedings. Juvenile defense lawyer disseminate information about punishment and rehabilitation to offenders to ensure they have a firm understanding of all the particulars. They prepare their clients emotionally for what may transpire during their time in court facing the prosecutor. Juvenile defense attorneys are heavily invested in their client’s cases so that they get the best possible outcome and appeal outcomes that may be deemed unfair (Bergman & Berman, 2018, p. 45). Competent staff members have a better opportunity of advancing in their respective careers as opposed to uninvolved counterparts. Conscientious individuals, thus, play a key role in the management of tasks and training of staff with the purpose of expanding JDCs.

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Conclusion               

Juvenile detention centers (JDCs) represent an integral part of the criminal justice system. They were officially established by the Federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 which created provisions for the establishment of a facility for youthful offenders. An evaluation of the management framework reveals an intricate framework to make sure legal and policy reforms are introduced appropriately and at the right time. Management and operations are major aspects of Juvenile Detention Centers in a bid to promote proper functioning. Furthermore, JDCs are also guided by a set of rules and regulations governing facilities. This ensures that professionals working in the facilities are governed by a set of succinct rules and can later progress in their careers.

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