The media, in most scenarios, has demonized the relationship between law enforcement and juveniles. News that revolve around negative interactions between the two parties always makes headlines. As a result, the younger generation hardly meet eye to eye with the police. Some youths have gone as far as getting involved in perpetual conflicts and such depictions affect personal and community outcomes negatively.. Conversely, a positive association between the police and the youth is often relegated.
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Contacts between the youth and law enforcement can be youth-initiated, or police-initiated. The former is considered voluntary while the latter is usually involuntary. Police officers are likely to perceive criminal conducts of juveniles differently compared to adults. In most cases, juveniles who are arrested for certain crimes like using drugs and alcohol are released and even offered assistance (Stewart et al, 2014).
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For example, there are several programs designed to assist youth and create positive relationships. The media do not publicize these programs in the same magnitude as negative news. I have witnessed a lot of effort by the police in fostering collaboration and positive attitudes from the public, especially juveniles. Prevention programs have been designed to avert substance abuse and gang involvement. The aims of the program consist of improving the association between the forces and the youths. Additionally, there are diversion programs adopted by the police like cautions, warning and releases, and referrals to services (Tallon, Joseph, & Melissa, 2016).
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They offer alternatives to juvenile offences instead of processing them in the justice system. As a result of public perceptions, the youth react negatively towards the law enforcement agency. Unlike what is perceived, the police are keen on creating a positive relationship with the youth and ensure they are out of the juvenile system as much as possible through prevention and diversion programs. The media should focus on contemporary reforms that have been embraced by law enforcement aimed at improving their relationship with the public.
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