Processes in Juvenile Justice Processing Essay

Processes in Juvenile Justice Processing

The individuals who wrote the “processes in Juvenile Justice Processing,” make a case for carrying out evaluations among juveniles and sharing their findings with different government agencies. Their basis for this is that such processes can reveal some problems among juvenile offenders before they gravitate into crimes. Their main argument concerning their processes is that it can help prevent criminal behavior among young people, and most effective and efficient ways of addressing juvenile offenses and needs that the government can employ include making interventions at the earliest point possible. This paper critically reviews the article of these authors “processes in juvenile justice processing.”

The paper will mainly investigate the assessments among juvenile offenders. A major obstacle to implementing the findings is the differences among jurisdictions with regard to both objectives and timing of evaluations conducted. In addition, the differences concerning methods of implementation as well as data usage amongst jurisdictions also impeded the effective implementation of juvenile assessments. Even though the researchers have backed and advocated for these course for assessments and connected these initiatives to reduction of crime rates, the variations in the objectives of intake can also reduce the effectiveness of such initiatives. This is most likely to occur if the involved officers have not clarified the purpose of conducting needs assessments before intake. Moreover, the authors also note that most probation officers do not see the need of conducting expensive assessments among all juveniles. These and many other hindrances would make it difficult to utilize the comprehensive assessments for all juvenile referrals.

In their research, the two authors used multiple sources of data. I believe this helped a lot to enhance the validity and credibility of their findings as opposed to solely relying on interviews or surveys. They also had a diverse sample that included the staff of different programs dealing with young people, judges, prosecutors, as well as probation officers. Data collection methods cannot be effective unless they are based on an appropriate guideline. The researchers stated that they used credible literature and the perceptions of the respondents concerning juvenile assessments to guide their surveys and interviews. I feel that the authors did everything possible to ascertain the credibility of their methods of collecting and interpreting data. Since Texas had passed a legislation that mandated assessments amongst juveniles, it was the most appropriate State for the study.

Qualitative analysis was mainly employed by the researchers to assess the collected data from the interviews and Proofreading-Editingsurveys. This method assisted the researchers to attain the objective of gaining an in-depth comprehension of the essence of conducting risks and needs assessments among juvenile offenders. Nevertheless, the researchers also set one of their main objectives as provision of information that could be extrapolated in other states and even nationwide. This objective cannot therefore be achieved by use of qualitative data only because it necessitates the generation of data points that depict the probability of extrapolation. They should therefore have combined a quantitative method with the qualitative analysis so as to generate more information. Such information would also have eased presentation and interpretation because it could have easily been compiled into a chart or table. Throughout the paper, I found it difficult to keep track of all the explanations made by the authors. The use of more graphs and tables would have made this much easier. Despite the fact that adding the quantitative aspect portended an additional cost, it would certainly have widened the scope of the study, and resulted in the generation of more meaningful information. The weakness of the qualitative method chosen lies in the fact that the authors mostly offer a description of the situation, without providing succinct alternatives or even solutions.

The authors also highlight that processing is actually an expensive process, and in effect, point out that policy makers should focus more on determining the degree to which carrying out risks and needs assessments can lead to better processing. As a result, the authors did not explicitly find out that conducting such assessments would make the processing of juveniles more effective. Additionally, supposing the findings revealed that the cost of assessments were acceptable, the limitations of funding and other resources would hinder the implementation of assessments. The resultant information from the assessments is an indication of the need for more programs and resources. I am of the opinion that in the absence of research that backs the requisition for more resources, there would be no political mechanisms of having better programs to implement risks and needs assessments.

There is also no empirical evidence that assessments can enhance processing among juveniles. Nonetheless, it is neither possible to rule out the role in increasing the appropriateness and consistency of processing. Additionally, there could be more inconsistencies during the processing if the factors that affect the credibility of assessment are to be considered. Moreover, jurisdictions also disagree on the amount of emphasis placed in collection of information besides the assessments. I am of the opinion that despite the fact that this information can enhance decision-making among different jurisdictions, it can also create some inconsistencies. The fact that there are no systems to evaluate the processes of referral and assessment among other interventions, increases the probabilities of such inconsistencies.

Even though assessments can be utilized in different ways to manage cases, make dispositional recommendations, as well as other decisions, it is overambitious to perceive that a singular instrument can handle all of these objectives. Nevertheless, I have doubts with regards to the concept that the existence of stringent goals and objectives for assessment would make them more efficient, despite the implications made by the authors. I also feel that the jurisdictional factors in question can influence the goals of needs and risks assessment, and these may cause diversity in the interpretation of objectives. As such, the setting up of standardized goals cannot guarantee the success of assessments.

According to the authors, certain factors act as an obstacle to the sharing and usage of information in diverse jurisdictions and among different officers in the judicial system. Since most of information gathered during intake only ends up on shelves, it would only have been better if the authors could have identified the factors that hinder the use of this information. Despite making two policy recommendations at the end of the paper, the authors seem to have focused only on the needs and flaws, without offering a practical contribution on the utilization of information from assessments.

The authors are in agreement that most of the current literature is more skewed and leans towards the formal processing. As such despite highlighting the knowledge gap that affects the informal processing, these authors have not done much in the paper to address them. As they have noted, the perceived cost-benefit imbalance among policy makers and other practitioners can prevent the implementation of most programs that would improve juvenile assessments. Even though they propose that more “attention” should be paid in the highlighting the essence of informal processing for juvenile, yet do not provide a strong argument regarding the financial implications or other attributes that concern informal processing. Actually, although they point out that the essence lies in the “potential” of the processing, I feel like they should have provided more information to justify their proposition.

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