Dealing with Juvenile Offenders

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Approximately 600,000 teenagers go through the juvenile facilities every year as they await the necessary legal actions for the crimes which they have committed. This statistics are in accordance to the Building Block for Youth National Council Crime and Delinquency reports in 2008. Majority of these offenders are young teenagers of ages 15 and below. Further, most of them are not held in these facilities are not held for violent related crimes. Most of the crimes committed by this group of offenders are as a result of poverty, increased drugs and substance abuse. Further, some teenagers end up in these facilities due to the neglect from their families which leads to them joining the streets where they engage themselves in the unruly behaviors where they are arrested.

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The main challenge of dealing with the juvenile offenders is the fact that most of the juvenile facilities are characterized with harsh conditions. This is as a result of massive overcrowding in these detention facilities. This has negative effects to the lives of these juveniles during their stay in the facilities. The overcrowding leads to suicide attempts, increased levels of stress which may lead to psychiatric problems to the juveniles (Jehle, Lewis & Sobota). Additionally, most of them are involved in drugs and substance abuse by the time they are joining these facilities. Therefore, most of them experience withdrawal problems which can make them violent to other juveniles.

Female Offenders

The rate of the incarcerated women in federal prisons and in jails is much lower than that of men. However, their population has increased in the recent years by approximately 5% between the years 2000 and 2008. Generally, women have different set of problem as compared to their counterparts in these facilities. Basically, most female offenders experience treatment challenges while in the federal and county facilities.


Most of the female offenders have histories of severe drugs and substance abuse by the time they were being detained. The rate of mental disorder is also high in women as compared to women. Further, most female offenders have physical health problems due to their past experiences especially if they came from the streets. Most of these women are victims of both physical and sexual violence and most likely they never received any form of treatment before they joined the facilities. Additionally, some of these women are victims of domestic violence which may have led them to committing the offenses they are being charged for.

Hence, most of these female offenders are in dire need of mental health treatment and child care services if they had children when they were joining the facilities. To ensure that they respond to the treatment, correctional facilities and the justice system should enable them to get custody of their children to avoid any form of conflicts between mental treatment and parental responsibilities. Additionally, parties in charge should help them get assistance in finding affordable housing and employment when they finish their jail terms.


The criminal justice system can serve these populations better in various ways. It is important for them to identify risks in the first place. Through this, they will be able to identify those who are in need for various forms of treatment in the facilities (Jones, 2012). They should target only the criminogenic needs and ignore all the personal issues from the offenders. Additionally, program integrity is equally critical in these issues as there must be professional training, staff supervisions and the evaluation of the outcomes for the offenders.


In Jones, P. (2012). Interventions in criminal justice: A handbook for counselors and therapists working in the criminal justice system.

Jehle, J.-M., Lewis, C., & Sobota, P. (January 01, 2008). Dealing with juvenile offenders in the criminal justice system. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, 14, 237-247.

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