Juvenile Justice Reform

picture of a kid being handcuffed

In the past few years, a notable number of local and state jurisdictions have been taking deliberate actions to reform their existing juvenile justice systems. Juvenile justice reform has mainly been characterized by efforts to reduce the application of juvenile detention. Besides this, there have been calls to focus on ethnic and racial disparities that characterize the entire criminal justice system. Families are also being increasingly involved in efforts aimed at fully rehabilitating the delinquent juveniles.

In as much as the momentum of the reform effort has been growing, there is need to ensure that more assistance is given to practitioners and jurisdictions involved. In this regard, the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention ought to support efforts that have been put in place. The implementation of juvenile justice reform should equally pinpoint and prioritize policies and strategies that can effectively facilitate reform.

The Role of Attorneys in Juvenile Justice Reform

There are numerous reasons why attorneys who represent neglected and abuse children should support juvenile justice reform. The ongoing debate pertaining to how these kids respond when they are detached from their families makes it necessary for attorneys to be also involved. A misconception exists that delinquent children are better off when separated from their families. In as much as such a move is legal, it is immoral because it doesn’t contribute to the general well-being of the young ones.

At the moment, attorneys who defend delinquent children are often looked down upon. What many people don’t realize is how much this representation helps ongoing legal proceedings. Most importantly, it helps judges to decide the fate of children based on clear evidence from all parties involved. Defending children in court is not an easy task. Luckily, law schools are offering specialized programs that target students who want to specialize in this area.

Attorneys representing children ought to ensure that courts go through every information so that they can be returned to their families. This is one of the surest ways of achieving juvenile justice reforms because obviously, kids are better off when under their parent’s care. They also have a higher chance of making it life when under their parents’ care rather than in the juvenile system. In this regard, the federal government should endeavor to formulate a strategic plan that supports and facilitates the transformation of the juvenile justice system. Strengthening the capacity of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention can greatly help this cause.

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